Along with several hand-picked Adventists, our Scouts have scrounged every solar panel they could locate pulling them from on top of houses, off train cars, and even the ones installed by the department of transportation on their signs and billboards. Between the solar panels and several bicycles repurposed with treadmill motors, most of the batteries are kept fully charged enough to run lights and some power tools.
Along with the survivor traffic, we also get sporadic news, some of it of dubious worth. Talking to survivors coming to the Adventist’s compound seeking medical attention, we have learned that the cities are wastelands full of the dead, and the quickly dying.
Huge hordes of infected infest all of the major cities. All city services have broken down. Vermin has broken out in large waves, with rats overrunning the sewers and streets. One piece of good news is that the freezing weather and loss of artificial heat has caused the death of billions of cockroaches that froze to death.
Most of the food in the cities is exhausted, and those survivors that have not already turned cannibal, are either going cannibal or are fleeing the cities. Moving within the city is extremely dangerous. Moving, especially during the day, is only undertaken in the direst of situations.
Many survivors are taking advantage of what is going to be a short summer, traveling north away from the major cities. The convoy is waiting for winter, when most of the rivers and lakes will be frozen, hopefully making travel easier. I am not sure I am going to have the nerve to drive a vehicle weighing nearly three tons on ice.
Despite living in the states for more than 20 years, I have never really gotten used to the damned cold winters. I am a child of the desert, and never did like travelling in snowy weather. Amy, a native of northern Maine and an avid snow bunny, always drove during the winter.
My Lotus was not a practical winter car, and I used to commute by light rail to work anyway. Amy’s old British, gray market imported, left-hand drive, classic Range Rover was much more practical in winter weather. Amy loved that puke green, old boxy British tank. She spent considerable time and money keeping the huge beast maintained.
Leaving the hospital and Doc playing with ants worried about the sugar levels in his urine, I head for the new bunk house. I pause to watch some men unloading what appear to be civil war cannons from a pair of horse-drawn wagons.
While the cussing men unload the unwieldy cannons, some men with some of the older children unharness the pair of four-horse teams. Leading the eight horses away, the grooms take them to be brushed, and then turned loose in the guarded fields.
We still have to have guards watch over all of the livestock, unless some starving soul decides to eat them. We have not had to shoot anyone attempting to kill any of our livestock in a few days. A wet meaty splat followed by copious cussing, draws my attention back to the wagons full of iron cannons.
“Be careful you fucking klutz, these things shatter ya’ know,” someone shouts. Wiping some of the mud off of the fallen cannon barrel, I try to read the letters stamped on the barrel.
I note the presence of cement filling this and several of the other cannon barrels. I wonder just how the men intend to get all the damn cement out of the canon barrels. Curious, I kneel beside one of the larger cannons lying on the muddy ground stacked in a neat pile.
“It’s a Army four-inch, or thirty-pounder Parrott gun, miss,” one of the men standing in the wagon says to me. My blank look must have given him the idea that I wanted to know more, for he continues.
“Parrotts were used in the Civil War by both sides, despite their deserved poor reputation for safety. Although Parrotts were shunned by many artillerists. Good thing for us, is that there are many surviving Parrott gun tubes lying in parks all over the country. Somehow they survived not getting melted down during the scrap drives of the wars. It takes a thirty pound shell or shot charge propelled by about four pounds of black powder.”
I have no idea what a fucking Parrott gun is (thanks to Iain for the proper spelling, and another fucking unwanted history lesson), but I understand that a zombie apocalypse is no time to be weapon picky. I know the lads have been making their own black powder, with various degrees of success.
I am glad that I have an important enough job that I do not tasked to mine latrines, bat caves and other nasty places for nitrates. I do not know where the Adventists acquired the eighteen inch deep and nearly six-foot wide, iron kettle to boil away the water leaving the raw saltpeter. The fuel demand making black powder is huge. I know that they sent some lads north looking for coal.
At least we have a use for all of the damn wood ashes, and charcoal. I bet we have at least a hundred folks dedicated to the production of black powder. I just wonder if the Adventists produce enough black powder to fill all of these cannons.
Leaving the men wrestling the unwieldy cement-filled iron cannons, I resume my trek to the new bunk house. Despite not feeling tired, I decide to crash for the day. Shack, Honey and LM are already snoring by the time I get to bed. Naked, I slide into the bedroll warmed by Shack.
Curling up against Shack’s back, I press my cold tits against him trying to warm myself.
“Jesus! Your nipples feel like a pair of cold erasers shoved into my back,” Shack whispers. His large warm hand slides down my side, and cups my hip. I wonder if Shack wants to christen our new bunk house.
This large cinder block bunk house, one of several built on the property, is similar to other large open, one room dormitories I have been in over the years. The building has one large central room in which all of our cots and bedrolls are laid out. Trying vainly to warm it, a wood burning stove sits at either end of the large room.
Someone has thoughtfully strung old blankets between the bunks offering visual privacy but not audible privacy. I note that several of the other bunks are occupied with Adventists, this bunk house being designated for couples without children.
During the day when we sleep, we will pretty much have the place to ourselves, as we are the only crew that works at night. My thoughts are interrupted by Shack, whom as I had guessed, wanted to make love in the new place.
Walking up the hospital wooden stairs to the second level entrance, I pass the two door guards on duty. The guard rotation changes, and the exact number and location of guards and weapons are known only to four people – Pastor, Sam, Doc and I.
Standing beside a wood burning 55-gallon drum propped on scavenged bricks, the outside hospital door guard is armed with a battered, ancient British Farquhar-Hill .303 rifle. Holding extra rounds for the British rifle, a disreputable-looking brown leather bandolier crosses his chest. From the rifle bandolier hang a pair of olive drab, Russian RGD-5 frag grenades and two US white smoke grenades.
Lying within reach on the stair handrail is a POS Cobray Terminator 12ga shotgun. I know that the near worthless shotgun is loaded with a marine shotgun flare, as that is about its only worth. I do not believe that the guards possess any other shotgun rounds to use in the Terminator.
Even used as a flare gun, the Cobray shotgun is still cumbersome, and unwieldy. The Terminator, a single shot, breech-loading, open bolt firing shotgun was nearly worthless when they were made. Only a zombie apocalypse would give worth to nearly worthless shotgun.
(As an aside – I saw a survivor dressed in an old fishtail parka with an aviator’s fur-lined cap that carried another POS Cobray weapon – a Lady’s Home Companion pistol. Probably the most worthless and poorly conceived pistol ever made, the Lady’s Home Companion chambered in 45/70 is an eight pound beast based on the Street Sweeper chassis. We have seen quite a few survivors pass by heading north, armed with all sorts of different weapons.)
An ancient US Army World War II vintage Motorola SRC-536 radio lies on the stair rail beside the shotgun. I had heard that several ancient radios were recovered from some obscure museum up north called “Spark” or something like that.
Most of the old radios were restored by vintage radio enthusiasts and work perfectly. Nodding at the guard as I pass, I take a moment to look over the camp from my elevated position.
I see that the destructive distillation methanol production has picked up. Once the retorts were built, and the steam system piped, the major concern has been securing enough fuel to heat the feed stock. Somewhere around here is supposed to be a supply of coal.
As I watch some of the men struggle with the large drums of methanol, I wonder how much methanol have stockpiled and is it going to be enough to get us into the Northwest Territories? The interior guard sitting just inside the door on a stool nods at me as I pass.
The large, coal-black guard is dressed in faded solid green US Army fatigues which I have heard referred to as a “pickle suit” by Shack and some of the other soldiers. Scuffed, day-glow green Nike running shoes cover his feet. I have heard that the large man wears size 14 shoes.
A Vietnam-era LBV struggles to wrap around the large black man. Hanging vertically on the left side, handle down, is a very distinct Steel Will Fervor knife with FDE handle scales. The guard is armed with a select fire Iver Johnson Enforcer. The machine gun looks small in his huge hands.
Hanging from an OD green pistol belt, a Canadian-imported Chinese NP-42 9mm pistol rests in a brown leather flap holster. A pair of the limited, Canadian-approved, 10 round magazines hang on the opposite side of the gun from the belt.
Beside the interior guard, leaning against the wall in the corner is a Polish AKML with a NSP-3 scope and bipod with a mounted 75-round drum magazine. Two more AKML drums lay on the floor beside the rifle.
Resting on the floor within easy reach of the large man is another Motorola SRC-536 radio. I do not know this man well, as he is a recent arrival to camp. I have heard that he was once a rather infamous bouncer and knee-breaking collections agent for local loan sharks who was rather infamous in the Seattle night life.
His cauliflower ears, scarred face and hands certainly attest to someone who has had experience with personal violence. The guard smiles at me as I pass, his extremely white teeth contrasting with his bright gold two front teeth, all of which contrasts with his dark skin.
Stepping inside I find Doc playing with ants. “Doc, what is with the ants?” I ask watching Doc drop small ants on a dish with just enough of a bright yellowish liquid to wet the bottom. The small room smells like urine and smoke from the lanterns.
I notice that all the windows are open. The room is freezing, but Doc dressed in BDU pants and a BDU tee-shirt does not seem to mind as he putters with ants in a dish. I zip my coat up fully, shoving my cold hands in my pockets.
“I am testing my urine to see if it still has sugar in it. I studied metabolomics many years ago. I am using ants testing for diabetes, something that the Chinese knew about hundreds of years ago. I have diabetes, and I am running out of insulin pills. I guessed that infecting myself might cure my diabetes. It appears that I may have been wrong.”
Doc falls silent as he and I watch the ants swarm over the urine. “Looks like there is still lot of sugar in my urine as the ants are highly attracted to it. I only have a few days’ worth of insulin left. God my head hurts.” Doc rubs his forehead with his right hand.
We have established trade for medical services. Ammo, TP, and food are the three most common items we accept in trade. I swear to God Almighty, that .22 long rifle ammo; TP and Twinkies are becoming the currency of this new world. Unfortunately insulin is not in ready supply as a trade item.
We have also accepted in trade weapons, survival gear, and various good batteries. Our supply of car batteries is about at maximum, so we have started assisting the Adventists in establishing a bank of batteries tied to several inverters.
Our nightly watch in the radio room is routinely boring. Honey did not join us on the first night, but on the second night she did. With Little Monster in tow (not a better name than Thing 1), Honey is now part of the night radio watch.
I was worried that keeping Little Monster (which we have abbreviated to LM, in the manner of the Americans) occupied during the night would be impossible. LM does not appear to be effected by the change of routine and as long as he is with Honey offers no difficulty.
However, LM is quite fascinated by the radio equipment. I was stunned watching as LM does chin ups on the edge of the table so that he could see the radio gear. Doc says that LM and the other infected quickly lost almost all body fat and that they develop approximately 50% more muscle than normal, non-infected people.
From autopsies done on stage three infected, Doc states that the muscles of the infected are unusually compact, more resilient and have more than twice the connection points to the skeleton. Doc posits that the infected muscles burn more calories, but seem not to produce as much lactic acid.
Whatever their abilities the infected, I have to admit, give me the creeps. Already out of diapers, and using the latrine on his own LM is frightening because of how fast he is developing. His “normal” brother is still in diapers, and has just recently beginning to crawl. LM runs all over the compound, his little pudgy feet hardened so that he does not need shoes.
Honey now with Little Monster, still sleeps in our tent. Doc still tends to the medical needs of the community. Somehow word spread that we have an actual doctor in the compound.
News of our barter system, as well as the fact of our medical abilities has spread to the local area. We were surprised to learn that there are several other small communities around the area. These communities have to be self-sufficient. But even the most self-sufficient community will sometimes need help from the outside.
It is refreshing to learn that there are other survivor communities. We have also received travelling survivors; mostly heading north who brave the zombies and cannibals to reach our doctor, no matter that he is infected. His appearance gives some a startle, but despite his black teeth and nails, he still tends to the sick and hurt.
We have established trade for medical services. Ammo, TP, and food are the three most common items we accept trade. I swear that .22 long rifle ammo; TP and Twinkies are becoming the currency of this new world. We have also accepted weapons, survival gear, and various good batteries.
With the traffic we also get sporadic news. Talking to the survivors that come to our compound seeking medical attention, we have learned that the cities are wastelands full of the dead and dying. Hordes of infected infest the major cities, and all services have broken down.
Some of the sick either passing us heading north, or coming to seek medical care display signs of the horrible disease cancrum oris also known as noma. I have never seen anyone suffering from noma outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Doc explained that noma is an ancient disease known to both Galen and Hippocrates.
As I was suffering from a monologue lecture from Doc, he went on to explain that noma was once common around the world in both Europe and the US. Mostly eradicated in developed nations since the 20th century, noma was mostly an African-only disease.
Jews have an unfortunate history with noma. As a Jew, I am all too familiar with noma. Any Jew knows that during the Holocaust noma was endemic to the Auschwitz and Belsen concentration camps. Josef Mengele ordered Berthold Epstein, a Czech physician and forced-labor prisoner, to study noma and its treatments.
Mengele had Epstein to infect healthy people with noma, mostly Jewish children. Around 3,000 people at Auschwitz, mostly Jews, died because of Mengele’s fascination with noma. Doc speculates that even the healing ability of the KCAP virus is not able to overcome noma.
Some have refused to be seen by Doc because of his condition, but others do not seem to care needing the care of a doctor no matter if he is sick as well. Doc speculates that the infected may become the dominant species on the planet.
While we refer to them as zombies, the infected are not truly dead. Yes, they died as a human, but the virus within that dead corpse colonized the corpse giving it purpose. We are unsure if the infected are self-aware, or is just a large viral colony seeking to spread the virus.
Both Honey and Doc report a near incessant hunger, especially for red meat. Doc believes the virus craves iron as the hardened nails, bones and teeth require large amounts of iron. By hardening and improving the host, the virus ensures that the host survives long enough to spread the virus.
After yoga and Krav Maga practice, I walk Honey and LM to our tent for our last night in a tent. Shack has gone off on some personal errand. Tomorrow, the last tent in the compound, ours, gets broken down, cleaned and stored in my old Dodge truck.
We will move into the new cinderblock bunk house tomorrow. Finding myself alone and not yet ready to sleep, I walk over to the hospital. One of the heaviest reinforced buildings and one that is always guarded, the hospital is an imposing sight. We have taken to calling the hospital building the Alamo, which is a horrible name, because everyone died at that historic battle.
I understand the reference though and why the company feels that way about the hospital. The new cinder block and timber shelter that houses the infirmary and hospital is no beauty of engineering. The recycled windows, and roughhewn lumber may not be pretty but it is very stout and designed to withstand attack.
Surrounded by triple concertina wire barricades, and a well-marked mine field the hospital is a formidable sight. With its firing slits and fire lane cards by the doors, the hospital which protects our precious drug and antibiotic supply is going to be costly for an attacker to take. Several Russian SG-43 Goryunov medium machine guns are stored in the hospital along with other weapons.
While our humble hospital may not be on par with ones prior to the KCAP pandemic, it is better than what we had before. We raided several abandoned FEMA camps nearby so there was plenty of medical gear for stocking both our supplies and the Adventists. Our raids also gave us enough of some medical supplies for barter. Such as that has been.
Sam is on the other end of the radio. “Ruth, cease mortar use immediately. Your mortar rounds are falling among friendly forces!” Sam screams at me.
I yell at Junior to stop using the mortar. I have to scream to be heard over the rhythmic chatter of the machine guns. The damned Russians have brought up a SG-43 Goryunov medium machine gun on my left side to compensate for my exposed flank.
The forest is full of zombies. Our mines are expended, and the explosives are quickly getting used up as well. We start lobbing Willie Pete grenades, followed by frag and then smoke grenades. The forest is far too damp for even the WP grenades to cause a fire, but the smoke helps confuse the zombies.
Our lads open up with 40mm grenade launchers while the Russians use theirs. I worry about the expenditure of irreplaceable ammo, but figure that worrying over ammo is pointless if I am dead. One of the men along my wall is shooting an Intratec TEC-9 pistol with the old 32 round magazines that you can only load 30 rounds.
The old TEC-9 pistol is a piece of shit, but its high-capacity and light weight are appreciated. The TEC-9 was never known as a particularly accurate pistol but at this close range its accuracy is sufficient for killing zombies.
We occasionally hear the heavy mortar and the Styker cannon fire behind us. Just as I begin to call in our ammo status, the zombies disappear from the woods. There are a few straggling zombies but the large force of zombies has petered out. I am not sure if that is because we killed so many, or the zombies have wandered off somewhere else.
We have not seen one single non-infected human attacker all day. Over the radio the other wall sections call in. So far only the Adventists beside me are the only ones wiped out. The few zombies that made it inside the wall are quickly killed.
Junior asks about my peroneal strike that shattered the zombie’s leg. Most modern armies teach the peroneal strike in hand to hand combat so I know Shack is familiar with the technique. It is one of the most painful strikes to the body one can suffer but I am not usually strong enough to shatter someone’s leg.
A few days after the battle, Shack and I sneak down by the water. Lying on our clothes, we quietly make love in the grass. Lying beside Shack staring at the clouds, Shack touches my legs gently running his large calloused hands along my thighs. Heat rises in my body at his touch, making me thankful for having a young lover with the stamina of youth.
I caress Shack in a more intimate manner. “You know you have put on a lot of muscle since I have known you,” Shack remarks. He breaks my concentration by speaking so that I take my mouth off of him.
Holding the wet length of him, I ask “Is that what you want to really talk about now?” I gently suck on him again and hear him sigh. I can feel his pulse throbbing in his member. “Uh, no now that you mention it, but I was thinking what Junior said about your peroneal strike. You have gotten much stronger, perhaps more than you have ever been.”
I do not want to talk right now and occupy Shack with other things. We later walk back to camp holding hands. I have noted that we are not the only couple to sneak out of the compound for romantic trysts.
Clean up takes a few days, but we eventually repair the worst of the damage. Our dead are buried, and it could have been worse. We lost 23 souls, including Honey’s baby. The mercenary force led by Shack’s father, fled to the east leaving behind several dead and wounded.
The wounded were snacked on by the zombies before we could get to them and had to be killed. Cleaning up the mess from the merc’s camp, it appears that they left in worse shape than they arrived. Many vehicles were abandoned in their camp, along with a lot of weapons and supplies.
Shack’s father is not among the dead. We are not sure if he is infected, but Shack is troubled by his father’s disappearance. I found Shack leaning over a small pile of items looking at something in his hand.
Placing my hand on Shack’s shoulder I squeeze silently letting him know I am there. He holds up a token. Badly faded and scuffed, I have a hard time reading the round token. “It’s my dad’s eight years sober coin,” Shack explains. “It used to hang from his dog tag chain.”
We eat shrewbread that evening for breakfast, along with leek, potato, sorrel, and parsley soup – supposed to puree soup, but no power to blend it properly. Shack and I get prepared to resume our radio watch. Honey is joining us later if Doc clears her. Honey is still healing after losing her child and an emergency hysterectomy.
If it were not for the fact that Honey is infected, she probably would have died. Her medical condition causes her to heal much faster, so Doc thinks in a few days Honey will be released from hospital. Honey is going nuts confined to bed.
The human body functions as an antenna of sorts, and if you are aware enough to detect what that antenna is receiving you would be surprised what people can figure out. Despite Honey’s convalescence, she has correctly guessed what is going on in the camp.
One of the interesting things that Honey was able to determine is that Doc infected himself while operating on her. We now have three infected individuals in the camp. Doc, Honey and the little monster can communicate with each other in a way that none of us are aware of.
I have not seen the youngest infected person in the camp and was surprised at how much he has grown. His normal brother is still rolling around and barely crawling, while the infected child is already walking at only five months old.
With Honey confined to hospital, the little monster walked across the camp to Honey’s bed. He crawled into the bed with her, and they have been sleeping in hospital together since.
That night we get notice that our much delayed Kayak Point expedition is back on the schedule. I still wonder if we will ever discern who was sending the coded messages. I also wonder what friendly forces was Junior shelling?
If it were not for the stupid, clanking cowbell hanging around the zombie’s neck, the fucker would have grabbed me before I realized that he was even there. Thankfully, I heard the bell just before its nasty hand grabbed my hair. This zombie lacks a flaming tire.
Spinning quickly, my hair in its customary ponytail caught by the zombie’s left hand pulls out from underneath my field coat. Tethered to the zombie by my hair, with both hands, I swing my Cold Steel Special Forces shovel over my shoulder.
The flat shovel blade strikes the zombie in the face. Its face and jaw broken, dripping broken, loose teeth the zombie snaps at me like a rabid dog. The sounds made by the pieces of cowbell zombie’s broken jaw grinding together are sickening.
Yanking on my hair, cowbell zombie snaps at me again. I spin inside its arms so that I am face to face with the much larger male zombie. A pair of knee strikes to the mid-outer thigh between the leg muscles shatters cowbell zombie’s left femur.
Some of my male Krav Maga instructors describe an outer thigh strike as more painful than a kick to the balls. Lacking balls, I am not able to determine if their opinion was true, but an outer thigh strike which at the minimum, paralyzes the leg, is extremely painful.
Unfortunately, zombies do not feel pain. The zombie drops to its knees, the jagged ends of its shattered femur erupt through its rotting flesh. Cowbell zombie’s left hand is still holding on to my ponytail. I swing my shovel again; the sharpened edge of the spade severs the zombie’s left hand at the wrist.
The twitching severed hand clutching a few wisps of my hair slides down my back falling to the ground. With a sickening crunch, before cowbell zombie’s severed hand hits the ground, I bury the sharpened shovel blade in its forehead. Twisting the shovel’s handle with a spray of black gore, I yank my shovel from the dead zombie’s forehead.
With hands reaching for me, a second zombie staggers out of the underbrush. The zombie’s hands are tipped by bloody and chipped painted and manicured nails. This zombie lacks both a cowbell and a flaming tire.
Dressed in bloody ragged light blue hospital scrubs this female nurse zombie is an older one near full transformation. Nurse zombie still has her white plastic name tag pinned to her blouse; I cannot read it due to the blood covering it. Her feet still wear the incredibly tacky white Crocks.
My knife shreds through the leafy undergrowth burying itself in nurse zombie’s left eye. Disorientated, the zombie nurse staggers on its feet.
I close the distance in four strides slamming the knife deep into the zombie’s brain with a vicious palm strike against my Glock field knife handle. Twisting the knife, I wiggle it side to side ensuring nurse zombie is truly dead.
Beside me one of my men dispatches another zombie by plunging his Wasp knife up through the soft palate into the zombie’s brain. When he depresses the trigger, the zombies head explodes in a disgusting chunky shower of brain, hair and white pieces of bone. Yanking the knife from the corpse, the man removes the spent 800 gram CO2 cartridge.
Dropping the spent gas cartridge on the ground, he installs a fresh cartridge into the knife. Walking beside me, he wipes the Wasp knife off with a rag. I do not know this man’s name, as he is a recent arrival in camp. He wears operator-style black BDUs, with desert tan, US army style boots.
Fashion sense aside, the man appears to be a competent fighter. A battered FDE Steyr AUG hangs over the man’s back. He replaces the Wasp knife on his left hip hanging from his OD green, old-style army pistol belt. Hanging from the belt on his right hip is a pretty, satin nickel CZ 83.32 ACP pistol with a Fitz-style open trigger guard.
Loaded with a menagerie of bullets, the little CZ pistol has a 15 round magazine. I was never fond of the little 32s as I always consider them too underpowered. I certainly would not choose a 32 as my sidearm in a zombie apocalypse. I suppose, though, that one cannot be too picky about finding a weapon in a zombie apocalypse, and a 32 is better than no pistol at all.
As our troops kill the few zombies, that stagger through the forest, we hear the occasional low-frequency thump of a mine detonating. Many more zombies stagger out of the forest, some worse for the wear showing obvious signs of wading through a mine field.
Not sure how many mines we have left, but the zombies are quickly exhausting them. Realizing that our troops are quickly being overran by the zombies, Nikola and I call our men back. Yelling at Junior, I run with my men towards our fortified position.
Hearing the low thump and the whistle as the first mortar rounds sail overhead, I yell for my troops to prepare to kill the zombies behind us. Running towards our lines, one of my men falls underneath several zombies. His screams are short-lived.
Hurdling over the stacked logs, my surviving men take their positions. I yell for the men to prepare to detonate the claymores and other explosives placed in front of our position. At my command, the explosives rip through the trees, killing many of the zombies.
As I yell for the men to commence firing, Shack runs over yelling in my ear. “All the Adventists on our left are dead. Someone slipped over their wall and slit their throats. Not sure how many enemy forces are inside. The colonels are attempting to replace the lost Adventists.”
Nikola’s and my lads open up, decimating the first ranks of the zombies. The grenade launchers obliterate the zombies. The fuel air bombs effects are not as effective outside as they are indoors. FABs kill by over-pressurization, incredible heat and by consuming all available oxygen.
Used indoors, a FAB ruptures lungs as it consumes all the air. The intense pressure wave shatters eardrums, causes blindness, and is a horrible way to die. The thermobaric grenades carried by our troops have a lethality radius of about ten feet.
The zombies in the immediate area of the thermobaric grenade’s blast are deflagrated, disappearing in a fiery cloud of zombie bits. Zombies on the fringes of the thermobaric grenade’s blast are badly burned and injured, some enough so that they die a few seconds after the explosion.
I do not want my men to expend the few thermobaric grenades they carry. At my command, several frag grenades get tossed among the zombies, further reducing their numbers. Unfortunately, the gun fire, explosives and men yelling attract more zombies. I just hope the number of zombies does not exceed the amount of ammo we have.
I hear the squawk of the radio behind me. I hear Junior talking in the radio set, but I cannot make any of the words out as they are drowned out by gunfire. The Princess’s daughter continues to lob HE mortar rounds into the forest.
Junior taps me on the shoulder. Placing his Kevlar helmet against mine, he says “Uh, Ruth, you may want to get this.”
He holds out the handset to me.
Fucking deer! However, the deer hurriedly rushing past indicates something else is in the forest pushing the deer past us. We have not seen deer in several weeks. If it were not for the fact that we are nearly in combat, some of the lads would have shot several deer.
We certainly could use the fresh meat. Fresh meat has been scarce, with our foragers having to venture farther from our camp. It has been a real trial keeping hungry people from attacking the few farm animals we have managed to spare.
“I meant Viet Cong used 800 tons of explosives from failed US ordnance. Mujaheddin did same Soviet ordnance and then, later American. Russia make good explosives.”
While talking to me, Nikola takes a moment thoroughly cursing his Russian crew. I am not sure encouraging the Russians to dig deeper and faster by questioning their likely parentage and the manner of their conception is an effective management method.
Russian is a coarse language with a rich curse vocabulary. Cursing in French is beautiful, but Russian cursing is much more creative. Nikola’s urging causes me to consider if maybe my fighting hole may not be deep enough. While I am considering the lack of depth of my hole, Nikola starts talking again.
“General had many weapons in his bunker we stole. Include many tons explosives. By way, note with Polish pistol said got from VC deserter.” He fingers the odd-looking duck-bill on the front of the Polish machine pistol.
“Same caliber my Stechkin. But only one magazine. Hope not need Polish pistol not best close weapon. Empty magazine soon – slow reload.”
After the paniced deer bounded through our position the forest is still. I scan the forest with my binoculars until I feel my eyes strain. Shack uses a thermal imager, searching for any warm bodied object. Of course, the dead zombies will not show on the thermal as they are ambient temperature.
Suddenly an ear-shattering rifle shot echoes through the forest. The shot came somewhere from behind us.
“Might be PTRD-41 14.5mm anti-tank rifle. Sent a few lads out with heavy rifle to cripple vehicles. Don’t have many rounds.” Falling silent, Nikola looks around.
Lowering the thermal imager from his eyes, Shack remarks, “Well, after we left bags of uncut Bolivian marching powder laced with rat poison where they were sure to find it, it might have cooled their ambition to attack us.”
I knew that our Scouts had located someone’s happy stash of uncut powder. I was not aware that the Colonels laced it with Strychnine and had it placed where the attackers might find it.
“Yeah, the Scouts tucked the laced dope in the door panels of some fucking huge SUV that had ‘I’m the local dope dealer’ all over it. Had to make sure it was not too obvious though, ‘cause we didn’t want to make them suspicious.” Shack’s breath fogs as he speaks.
This late in the afternoon, the temperature has started to drop. The shadows are getting longer. I am not looking forward to a night spent shivering huddled in a muddy hole. We cannot build a fire, so we are going to freeze.
I need to talk with Nikola about how we are going to arrange for our troops to sleep and setting of the guard rotation. I also need to get in touch with the Adventists on my left flank. I have not seen the Adventists at all which worries me.
I mention the lack of Adventists on my left flank to Nikola. We consider walking over there to talk to them when Shack, looking through the thermal again, yells that he has movement.
“Fuck! Shack what is it?” I yell at him.
“Don’t know but it is fucking huge in the thermal.” We hear something crashing in the forest, and unless I am crazy I distinctly hear cowbells. Maybe I am going crazy.
Just as I doubt my sanity, Nikola says, “I hear cows.”
Now we can all hear several cowbells. Stampede I am wondering? The crashing in the forest gets louder. I smell smoke as well. I hear talking to my left, I fucking hope that it is the Adventists in their position.
“Great balls of fire,” Shack yells. Jamming my binoculars to my face, in the fading sunlight I can see several zombies staggering towards us through the forest. Each of the poor bastards has a flaming tire wrapped around their arms. A clanking cowbell hangs on a chain from around the flaming zombie’s waist.
“Are they trying to burn the forest down?” Shack mutters.
“Distraction technique. We shoot burning zombie it falls and ignites forest. Eventually zombie will fall and forest will burn anyway. Surprised poor bastard survived this long.”
“I smell gas,” Shack says.
“It’s called necklacing. You take a tire shove it over some poor bastard’s shoulders. Then you pour gasoline into the tire and light it. The tire burns hot and a long time.”
“Nikola, Ruth what the fuck do we do?” I notice all the men are looking towards us. A light sleet starts falling. The sleet will not be enough to extinguish the burning tires, but it is enough to make us miserable.
“There is only a few burning zombies. We need to go out there kill the zombie and throw dirt on them extinguishing the fire.”
“Easier said than done, Ruth.”
“I know sweetheart, but it needs to be done. Nikola and I will each take five members of our teams, killing the blazers. You will be in charge of our section while we are gone. See if you can send someone over to check on the Adventists on our left flank.”
I can tell from the stern set of his lips, Shack does not like what I have told him to do. After I choose my five, Shack details one of the men to run over to the Adventists.
The 12 of us quickly surround the blazers. Using long-handled spears, we skewer each blazer through the body underneath the flaming tire. Once skewered, we pin the blazer to the ground. When the blazer is down, it is shot twice in the temple with the suppressed Kel-tec PMR-30 carried by one of my men.
The little 30 grain, red-tipped Hornady bullets kill the blazers quickly without exiting the opposite side of the cranium. The bloody battle is brief but we manage killing the blazers without setting either ourselves or the forest on fire.
Using our shovels Edward, along with one of my men and I toss dirt extinguishing the last blazer. I hate the smell of burning flesh. It is going to take me forever to get this stench out of my clothes and hair.
Suddenly, a zombie stumbles out of the thick forest undergrowth; his flesh-dripping skeletal hands snag my hair.
During the planning of this combat, defense mortars, other than the heavy ones, were discarded because of lack of qualified mortar operators. Sitting on the ground with his feet in the mortar pit, Junior pulls the thick mortar tech manual out. He is furiously ripping through the pages giving himself a crash course in mortar deployment.
One of the Russian soldiers, seeing Junior struggle with the mortar runs over. Helping the youth set up the mortar, with either Nikola or I translating when the Russian soldier’s English fails, Junior gets the lightweight mortar erected and pointed in somewhat the correct direction.
Leaving the two men and woman as they prepare mortar rounds and pre-dial the mortar, Nikola and I inspect our defensive positions once more. Then Nikola and I have really nothing to do until combat commences other than watch as the trio sets up the mortar. With no one but enemies to our front it will not matter if Junior tosses mortar rounds too far.
Fuck, I crave a cigarette! Nikola and I watch our respective troops as they work.
“Is very similar Russian 82mm platoon mortar. Alexi best mortar driver in old platoon.” He says with a note of pride. I notice that when under stress, Nikola’s Russian accent gets much worse. I wonder privately if he is aware that his speech changes so much.
“Nikola, where did you get that ancient Polish machine pistol? And where is your Stechkin APS? You Spets lads are never without your favorite machine pistol.”
Noting that Nikola’s ever present brown holster is missing, I wondering if I might already know the answer to my questions.
“Left APS with Stiva’s little mother. She need more than me maybe. Protect son. When stole plane we took from old Soviet general’s secret bunker. General in youth Soviet Spetsnaz advisor Viet Cong. General many years’ service; many skeletons secreted in closets as you say. General stole from VC, printing press plates fake US hundred-dollar money. Positive America similar plates Soviet rubles during Cold War. Now printing plates worthless – money worthless. Only life valuable.”
In silence for a moment we watch our respective troops as they plant claymores, and other command detonate antipersonnel mines around the perimeter. With a combination of Russian and American explosives strung among the trees, I hope any attacking force will be decimated enough forcing them to retreat never attempting an attack again.
Military operational planning details an assaulting force as having as much as a three-to-one disadvantage because the assaulting force has absolutely no cover. We have wired the trees with explosives, turning what little cover the assault force may seek into mined hell.
I would not like to be within those trees when the explosives strapped to them detonate. The thought of all those chunks of sharp wood propelled at speeds nearing the speed of sound make me shudder.
One problem with a force attacking with zombies is that zombies do not care if their fellows are slaughtered. Zombies and other KCAP infected lack any kind of morale, so killing a large number of them does not tend to hinder their attack effectiveness. We will have to slaughter the waves of zombies, surviving long enough to kill the human attackers behind them.
Watching an American soldier placing a pair of claymore mines, one at the base of a tree and another about shoulder height on the tree trunk, I shudder to think of an attacking force having to wade through our trapped perimeter. The soldier’s buddy runs detonation wires with the clackers to their fighting position.
“Fucking hope the explosives are enough.” I mutter under my breath. High-quality explosives are something that we are not able to replace. Sure we can make crude explosives, and even have had some luck making black powder, but good explosives are going to be in short supply quickly.
I know that Jeff worries about the expenditure this combat will cost versus what will be left for the continued trip north this coming winter. Travelling in the winter is supposed to be easier with everything frozen; crossing rivers and other barriers will be easier. Or at least that is what the current “I Believe” button is labeled.
That is assuming that the ice will be thick enough supporting our heavy vehicles. I am not going to volunteer to be in the lead vehicle searching for safe ice. No fucking way! If Rick and the Princess volunteer to take the ginormous snow plow on ice they are crazier than I think they are.
I just hope all of the fucking infected are frozen solid so we do not have to worry about them chasing our ass. Then again if we are dead, then there will not be a convoy to travel north. I have lost track of who is travelling north and who is not as the damn people keep changing their mind.
Nikola seeing the pensive look on my face speaks.
“America not learn from mistake Russia make in Afghanistan. Shame America did same mistake before in Vietnam. Think would learn like Russia, not mistake twice.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? Speak English God damn it!”
Waiting for Nikola’s response I look at him. Suddenly the Russian lad standing behind the protective plates of the closest Dushka spots movement in the forest. He screams a warning in Russian.
I yell at the man now enthusiastically racking the charging handle of the Dushka to speak English. Nikola yells back at me that the man does not speak English. Shack yells our contact report into the old AN/PRC-117F Multiband Multi Mission Radio (MBMMR) field radio set.
Shit! We dive for our fighting holes and weapons.
Picking up Honey, Shack tosses the furiously bleeding pregnant girl over his shoulder. Running to the Dodge pickup, he throws Honey across the seat. Shack tears out of the forested area narrowly missing several trees, pelting us with pine needles, pine cones and dirt.
In a battered deuce and a half, Nickola and his assigned fighters arrive at their defensive section. My fighters take their positions, digging fighting holes, and erecting whatever barricade they can. I watch Nikola’s Russian crew do the same.
One thing about Russian soldiers, they fucking know how to use a shovel. I note that Mal’s beau is included in the soldiers assigned to Nickola’s defense force. It is still cold this early in the morning. The frost has not burnt off of the ground.
Despite the cool temperatures, we quickly strip to our shirts while we dig, piling dirt where it will most likely catch bullets rather than using our bodies stopping bullets. After digging our holes, we start dropping trees. Amazingly enough, in the hectic tree cutting operation, no one is hurt despite trees falling every which way.
Cutting logs from the fallen trees, we stack them against the barricade. Hopefully, reinforcing the motley perimeter barricade with mounds of dirt and trees might slow the attackers. Piling dirt around the cut logs holding them in place, we start placing our weapons in convenient spots. Ammo is piled next to weapons.
I make sure that each of my fighters has six frag grenades, two smoke and at least one WP grenade. In the center of our formation, I have one light machine gun, an American M-249B along with a far too young-looking former American soldier behind it. At each corner, I have an American M-240B. Beside us, I see that Nikola has opted for a pair of Dushkas in the corners, with a battered, OD green PKP in the center.
I could have opted for one of the M2Bs, or even pulled the GAU-19 out of the dump truck, but I felt that this was a better arrangement. I worry that the heavy machine guns maybe too difficult to move should we be forced to fall back to the secondary positions. The Russians have no such compulsions, grabbing the Dushkas with relish.
I have to admit that the sight of the heavy, ancient Russian machine guns does comfort me a little. If the attackers remain true to form, the Dushkas could decimate their vehicles. The machine gunners start hammering limitation stakes in their position, in the hopes of preventing friendly fire – which is not.
I also note that Nikola is toting a KBP GM-94 his Russian, odd ball pump-action grenade launcher. It is probably loaded with the thermobaric grenades favored by the Spetsnaz. Each section has a surprise for the attackers, which I verify is in place, loaded and ready.
As I walk around my defensive position, I confer with Nikola for coordination. Since the Dushkas sit higher on their tripods, as long as my troops remain lying on the ground, the Russian heavy machine guns can fire over our heads. While Nikola and I are talking tactics, the battered old Dodge returns, Shack at the wheel.
Parking the truck, Shack walks over to us. I am glad to see Shack return as he is my second-in-command. Shack has his M4 slung across his back. His Serbu shotgun is in its customary position. His Russian knife hangs from his LBV. Today, Shack carries an ancient, American M79 40mm grenade launcher on his back with an OD green 550 paracord sling.
Shack carries a ragged, cloth bandolier, hastily sewn together. The bandolier holds an eclectic assortment of American 40mm grenades. From the few grenade tops that I can see, Shack went heavy on HE, HEDP, anti-personnel flechette, shotgun, and the rarer American thermobaric grenades. Clipping his grenades to his LBV, Shack rattles when he walks. I note that his BDU pockets bulge, thya are probably stuffed with more ammo or grenades.
“Honey’s in surgery. She’s lost the baby and may bleed to death before Doc can get her sealed up. Doc says the cannibals are tough and heal fast – only reason she has not died before now. He said something about Honey having some fucking thing called placenta accrete – if I’m even fucking pronouncing that right. She’s going to need a hysterectomy, at least, if Doc can stop the bleeding. No more kids for her.”
“She is so young.” I say aloud. Silently I wonder how she survived so long. I also privately wonder that when she was raped, her insides were damaged. I feel sorry for Honey, but I know that she is tough young woman. I cannot think of her as a little girl anymore. The loss of Honey on my crew is upsetting.
Nikola mutters something that I do not catch. He is wearing his Saint George’s medal pinned to his coat. Now that heavy labors are done we have donned our coats and hats once again. I am surprised to see Nikola is carrying a battered Polish PM-63 RAK machine pistol.
“Since we are down one, Honey’s combat skills being second to none, I brought some reinforcements.” Shack points to the parked Dodge truck where I just realize that Junior and the Princess’s daughter are climbing out of the truck bed.
I see, approvingly, that the pair possesses the assigned number and type of grenades rattling on their bulging LBVs. Everyone packed heavy for this operation. Not a time to skimp on the amount of ammo you are carrying. We brought a little food, but a lot of water as well as much ammo as we could cram in our pockets.
Junior and his lady each carry an M4 slung over their shoulders. Junior’s M4 has a M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System (MASS) underneath the barrel. Seeing the very short 12 gauge shotgun makes me happy. Seeing what else the pair are carrying makes me even happier.
Between them, they carry a pair of 40mm grenade ammo cases. Lying on top of the grenade ammo is a weapon I am grateful Junior brought with him – a Milkor MGL-140 40mm grenade launcher. Once inside our defensive perimeter, the pair immediately starts digging a fighting hole behind my place, near the center.
Not seeing it until her back was to me, the Princess’s daughter has an ancient, disreputable-looking Ithaca model 37 “Stakeout” 12 gauge pump shotgun strapped across her back. The old shotgun with its 13″ barrel and pistol grip was a famous street sweeper in its day.
Leaving the girl digging furiously, Junior runs back to the truck. Returning he carries another weapon that I am pleased he added to our arsenal. Junior carries an American M224 60mm lightweight mortar tube. Returning to the truck for another trip, he returns with the mortar plate and stand.
As Junior turns for another trip to the old truck, Nikola and I detail a couple of our troops helping Junior drag the ammo for the 60mm mortar to the hastily dug mortar pit.
Sam starts the briefing the evening before battle. “Numerous attempts at establishing some form of truce or parley have failed. Of course we never sent a messenger, as they would likely either kill the messenger or hold them hostage.”
Sam sips his room temperature Coors beer. “We left messages taped to MRE cases, but none of our overtures was returned. We’ve reinforced the barricade walls, and doubled the number of mines around the perimeter. Our Scouts indicate that this bunch has no finesse or strategy. Expect a full frontal assault.”
That night all is quiet in the radio shack. If it were not for the battle, tomorrow we would have struck our sleeping tent – the last tent standing in the compound. The Adventists do not have much of a radio system to speak of yet.
Our Scouts along with a few of the skilled Adventists have searched for radio gear to leave with the Adventists. We have found several radio sets for receiving but so far nothing for transmitting. We cannot spare any of our radios.
A few hobby GMRS/FRS radios located in an old prepper’s stash will be left with the Adventists. Our Scouts found all the preppers dead in their small concrete bunker. Poor bastards all died of food poisoning or something similar. Perhaps they died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The haul from the prepper’s stash was disappointing. Either someone beat us to the looting or the dead did not have that much stuff before SHTF. Even the Adventists are learning the hard way that it is far better to be prepared than attempt to survive after a zombie pandemic hits.
Shack, Honey and I are rudely awakened early as some assholes decide dropping our tent early is a good idea. I don’t know if the assholes knew we were sleeping inside or just did not give a shit. A screaming match between the assholes and Shack ensued.
At least after the men realized we were sleeping they were a little apologetic. Angry armed men are dangerous. Grumpy armed men expecting combat the following day are especially prone to fighting with each other. Thankfully the men did not come to blows, but some heated words were exchanged.
Our tents stored in the trucks the Convoy is taking north, get a good scrubbing with bleach and water before being wrapped in tarps and stored on the trucks. Being around my old Dodge pickup, which I have been away from gave me a sense of nostalgia.
Opening the door to the old Dodge pickup, released a pent-up miasma of unwashed bodies, discarded food wrappers, and other ungodly scents. My eyes watering, I rolled the windows on the truck down.
While we have a small solar panel mounted on the roof, I am uncertain if the old truck is going to start after sitting for over a month. The old truck’s engine chugs a few times but does not start. I am supposed to take the old truck and the troops assigned to me, to our section of the barricade to defend.
If I cannot get this damn truck started I am unsure how I am going to get my troops to our assigned position. Just as I am beating my head on the damn steering wheel, Shack shows up carrying a propane torch and an OD green canvas small tool bag.
Shack pops the bonnet open and fiddles underneath the damn thing for a minute. Later he tells me that he takes the air cleaner off, and holding the propane torch nozzle over the intake, hollers for me to crank the engine.
When I crank the engine, Shack cracks open the propane valve pouring propane into the engine. Not sure how much propane Shack dumped into the engine but it fired and ran a little fast for a few seconds. Shack tells me that was his fault because it took him a minute to shut off the propane.
After the old Dodge truck warms up and recharges its batteries, I drive the hulking truck down into the compound. Our trucks that we are not using at present are parked in an old field which has become our waste disposal site for bodies.
Other drivers are moving their trucks into the center of the compound as well. We want to move all the vehicles where they are less likely to get damaged. Some of us also need to transport troops to our assigned spots.
Driving the old Dodge again, after I have been out of it for so long makes me nostalgic for the early days with the Convoy. Finding an empty package of cigarettes makes me realize that I have not smoked in several months. Funny how other things replaced my need for nicotine.
Shack, Honey and I along with the eight men assigned to defend our section of the barricade, attend a brief before we all turn in for the night. The radio shack is manned only by one person tonight.
Our briefing was fairly simple. We hope that the opposing force does not realize that we have military hardware. The Stryker MGS and the mortar Stryker will remain out of sight in the center of the compound. The surrounding areas are already mapped for grid reference artillery plotting. All the barricade defense section commanders, such as I, have radios and a fairly accurate hand drawn coordinate map. With eight section commanders, along with Sam and Doc, the artillery lads could be busy.
Observing the tactics of this bunch, when facing a barricade they like to drive a large vehicle up to the barricade. Tossing a large grappling hook and chain, they pull the barricade apart with the vehicle. One of the best pieces of intel came from the survivors of the Lake City Way Barricade.
I have not seen Sutton and Randy (AKA Laurel and Hardy) much at all since we settled with the Adventists. We are on different work schedules, but it is nice to see the boys are alright. Another welcome sight is Mal, our young female light wheeled mechanic.
Mal has been assigned to vehicle maintenance on the other side of the compound. I rarely see Mal but am glad to see Carol and her catching up. I am surprised that Mal is not listed as combat capable and I realize why when I catch sight of her profile.
Mal holding the hand of a large Russian soldier is obviously pregnant. She has that nearly-ready-to-pop look, as if she has smuggled a large beach ball underneath her parka. Mal stands beside the pretty young Asian woman from the Lake City Way Barricade.
Dressed in body armor for the first time in months, everyone has taken on the familiar lumpy shape of fully loaded soldiers. The familiar weight of my PASGT helmet on my head reminds me of the seriousness of the situation. I note that the Princess, also obviously pregnant, is carrying her S&W 686 pistol again.
Sam calls the final meeting together. “Alright folks let’s check any last minute items before we load into the vehicles. At least this bunch is somewhat punctual. Our observers have observed them loading up on Bolivian marching powder and Dutch courage. Once they are good and loaded, the bunch will commence the attack…”
Suddenly Honey emits a bloodcurdling scream interrupting Sam’s brief. Dropping to the ground, she clutches her stomach. I see a flood of bright red blood soaking through her pants around her crotch.
When Shack and I relieved Carol, Nikola, and Nguen with little Stiva in his basket in the radio tent, they confirmed that they intercepted many coded radio messages. No one knows who sends the coded messages. Shack, Honey and I throughout the night listened to the coded messages.
Honey is feeling poorly, and is bleeding again. She is worried about her baby. Despite Honey feeling out of sorts, she was able to take her turns cranking the charging handles. I appreciated her help, as I desperately despise cranking the charging handles.
After the day crew relieved us, we grabbed some breakfast and promptly dropped into our bedrolls. Shack and I lay awake until we heard Honey snoring. We gently and quietly made love falling asleep afterwards.
Poor Shack had to get up early this afternoon. Nikola and some of the other Spets lads along with Shack, Longfeather and the other Ranger-tabbed soldiers teach our Scouts and new recruits from the various groups. Dealing with creatures attracted to noise, tactics taught kill without noise. I still teach Krav Maga, but Shack and Honey are my only pupils. Honey, Princess and I still practice yoga.
The Russians, several of who are remaining behind when the Convoy leaves, have been very generous giving several silenced weapons to both our soldiers and the Adventists. Nikola gave and then taught Shack how to use a PSS Vul (Wool in English) silent pistol.
Honey received an ancient MSP Groza (Russian for “thunderstorm”) silent pistol. The old Groza is a double-barrel, derringer-type firearm designed in 1972 by the former Soviet Union. Long out of production, the little Groza was once a favorite clandestine tool of the Spetsnaz and KGB.
I have only seen pictures of Groza pistols. From my studies and service experience, I knew that Groza pistols were used in Central America during the Cold War. Last time that I recalled hearing of Groza pistols was during the American Second Afghanistan conflict where several American service men were killed by Mujahideen using ex-Soviet Groza pistols.
Carol now carries a OTs-38 Stechkin silent revolver in a shoulder holster in a generic black nylon holster. The bulky and rather unwieldy silent revolver rides butt first under her left arm. Another pistol that I am only passingly familiar with, the Stechkin silent revolver I have read about in books.
The newest of all the silent weapons given away by the Russians, the Stechkin revolver should not be confused with Nikola’s Stechkin APB (Avtomaticheskij Pistolet Besshumnyj) made by the same company. Nikola and most of the Spets lads love the older APB pistol despite newer and supposedly better pistols released by Russia.
Nikola has added a black slip on rubber padded grip sleeve to his APB, but otherwise keeps it as it was issued to him when he served Mother Russia. I know that there is no shortage of 9×18mm Makarov ammo but I wonder how much of the quiet special purpose ammo the Russians were able to bring with them.
Before the KCAP pandemic and the zombie apocalypse, 9×18mm Makarov ammo was prevalent loaded by several American ammo companies. As far as I know, no one other than the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation loaded SP ammo as used by Honey’s Groza, Shack’s NRS-2 knife, Carol’s Stechkin revolver, and Shack’s Vul.
I know that Nikola gave Honey and Shack two, 20 round boxes each of the SP ammo. With no way of reloading the SP ammo or making our own substitute ammo, the Russian SP ammo and their pistols are regulated to emergency or clandestine necessity only.
Shack likes his little Russian Vul pistol which reminds him of an overgrown Walther PPK. Shack searches for a rubber padded sleeve similar to what Nikola placed on his Stechkin for his Vul pistol but otherwise left it as it was given to him by Nikola.
Shack has to be careful that he does not lose the Vul six round magazine. Vul magazines are impossible to replace. Unfortunately, the Russians did not grab any spare Vul magazines when they fled Russia. I hope that the sudden Russian largess does not portend something awful.
Shack also received a Russian NRS-2 (Special Scout Knife) from Nikola with a full accessory kit. Shack received two boxes of 20 cartridges each of the special purpose ammo SP-3, and SP-4. With the weighted insert replacing the firing mechanism and barrel, Shack is not yet as good as Nikola at throwing the large Russian knife.
Nikola’s skill throwing the NRS-2 knife was displayed when, defying all odds, a lone male zombie wandered into the camp. Miraculously missing all the mines, tangle foot traps, and guards the lone zombie shuffled into the main courtyard.
Dressed in the remains of a leather jacket and other biker attire, the zombie looked somewhat confused. Minus one foot, the zombie had a lurching gait. Nikola exiting the dining hall with his family in tow, saw the shuffling zombie just as Shack and I exited the dining hall with Honey following behind.
“Oh, fuck!” Honey’s appropriately yelled upon spying the zombie in the courtyard. At Honey’s outburst biker zombie spun towards our group revealing one side of his face and neck is hideously burnt. Biker zombie reached out towards our group with both hands.
Reaching for us I noticed that biker zombie was missing several fingers as well as most of the meat from his arms and hands. Slapping for my Hi-Power on my hip, while Shack reaches for his Serbu shotgun pistol, without thought we all scatter giving room for weapons deployment.
Nikola however beat us all to the shot. Tossing his NRS-2 knife with an almost casual underhand cross-body flip from his left side, the large heavy-bladed knife sank to the hilt in biker zombie’s left eye.
Dropping his arms, biker zombie looked confused for a second his lone eye blinking attempting to focus upon the strange thing that suddenly appeared in his face. Honey and I as well as several other people were stunned into inactivity by the fact that the zombie was still alive despite the large knife buried in its head.
Biker zombie’s arms started reaching up for the knife handle when a thunderous ear-shattering boom startles us all. Shack’s Serbu obliterated biker zombie’s head in a chunky cloud of hair, bone bits, brain chunks and black blood.
“Oh, fucking yuck!” Queen of the obvious, Honey remarked.
Shack cranked the small vertical handle on the Serbu chambering another round of Rhodesian jungle load. Ejecting the smoking, slightly transparent shotgun hull, Shack looks around at the gathered crowd. Shack joined by Nikola walk the four steps or so to the zombie’s corpse.
Shack prods biker zombie’s headless corpse with his boot tip while Nikola searches for his knife. Nikola finally finds his bloody knife lying in the snow piled against the side of what eventually will be the Adventist’s central armory. Picking up the dripping knife, Nikola wipes it on the snow. The blade must not have been sufficiently clean as then he repeats wiping the knife blade on the zombie’s corpse.
After Nikola is satisfied the knife is sufficiently clean, he pulls a small dented can of 3-in-1 oil from his pocket lightly oiling the blade he inspects it for damage. “Forget remove firing mechanism,” he mumbles while looking at the knife. Sheathing the knife back on his left leg Nikola gathers his family and leaves.
Looking at Shack I see that he has opted to carry the large Russian knife in the American manner strapped vertically, handle down on the left side of his LBV. I noticed that many of the American SF trained men carried large bladed knives in this fashion. Longfeather carries a Vietnam era Marine KaBar knife in the same manner.
Nikola only commented once on Shack’s choice of place to carry the Russian knife. Nikola mentioned that it would be hell to undo all of that 550 paracord in order to be able to use the wire cutters installed on the tip of the knife sheath.
Like two unstoppable armies, our forces prepare to do battle with the opposing force led by the elder Rogers. Showdown should be tomorrow afternoon if all goes according to plan.