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.
Settling on the farm with the Adventists
The next few days pass in relative repetitive boredom. We had to protect the Roman siege engines from the near constant rain. The continuous wet rots the rope and fiber components of the Roman siege engines which is probably something that the Roman legions struggled with while on campaign in wetter areas like Britain.
Phyllis is busily cranking out more arrowheads for the Scorpios. The Adventists who also happen to be members of a few of the local Native American tribes are quite adept at making the slightly larger and heavier Scorpio arrows. Some of the more creative lads have discussed attempting to create a polybolos.
The polybolos sounds intriguing. I understand from their discussions, and the numerous, detailed rough sketches from around the dinner table, that a polybolos is some kind of rapid fire Scorpio with a large box magazine. Some Greek dude invented this rapid fire Scorpio. There is even discussion of an ancient Mythbusters episode dealing with the attempt to recreate a polybolos.
A polybolos if we could get such a contraption to work and could afford to feed it would be a great weapon against living opponents. Against a horde of mindless zombies intent only upon feasting on our flesh, I do not believe such an ancient siege weapon of terror would be very effective.
In order to kill a zombie we need to destroy the brain. We could turn several zombies into walking Scorpio pin cushions. The arrow festooned zombies would still drag themselves towards the food source. There is some possibility that the Scorpio with its heavier arrow could do sufficient damage to the zombie to slow a zombie down, but not enough surety in a battle where we need instant kills not maiming.
Beware cannibals with knives …
The next time that we encounter Honey is at the breakfast table. I note that she is no longer unarmed. Honey now carries what I recognize as a small Finnish belt knife called a Puukko. Honey’s Puukko has a beautiful Damascus blade. She uses her Puukko in the same manner as most Fins, as an everyday tool useful for eating, general chores as well as fighting.
When asked where she secreted the little knife, Honey only grins revealing her black teeth. I also realize that the small cannibal child is now completely bald having completed her transformation into a cannibal. Seeing the bald pale pate of Honey who once had long wavy light blonde hair is a little disconcerting.
Honey’s fingernails are now inky black and are much thicker and harder than a normal human’s. During this breakfast, Shack and I took the opportunity to ask Honey how she came to be pregnant and infected. We know that she ate her brother, but I also wonder if there was other tainted meat she consumed.
Joined by Doc, I learn that Honey has been added to the Medical tent, in the care of Sarah and Gennady. Sarah and Doc confirm that Thing 1 seems to prefer Honey over its own mother. The cannibal youngsters (Shack’s term for them not mine) appear to have a form of telepathic communication.
Doc has asked if Honey can hear Thing 1 in a hive mind or if she is able to hear any other hives nearby. Honey cannot hear a hive nearby which is good but we are not sure exactly the range of her “hearing.” Honey is able to sense when Thing 1 is hungry or needs changing and has for the most part assumed care of the little monster.
When we get a chance, Doc and Sam want to take Honey in the field with a full escort, a few QRF teams and the Scouts. We want Honey to attempt to hear any cannibal or zombie hives that might be in the area. Not only will this help our Scouts possibly locate the hives, but it will also let us know if there are any hives that we missed.
Doc is protective of Honey I believe mostly because of her youth. It must be hard to be a pregnant 12-year-old cannibal. Doc also wants to be able to study Honey’s baby as it will most likely be a K2, a second generation cannibal. There is some concern that Honey’s baby could be either born a full-fledged cannibal with abilities not yet seen or as a zombie.
Until Honey’s child is born we will not know just what it might be. Since Honey is less than three months pregnant, it may be a while before we have to decide what to do with her baby.
Honey’s history …
Honey does reveal some interesting details of her survival since the KCAP pandemic. Her mother, younger brother and she were in the car attempting to reach her aunt’s house in Oak Harbor when the I-5 bridges were bombed by the military.
Trapped on the road and fearful of the gangs of predators already prowling the overcrowded highway, her mother took both children into the grass beside the highway abandoning their car. The three of them slowly made their way through the suburbs surviving on a few snacks that her mother had in her monstrous purse. Lacking any weapons and fearful of the looting and fighting occurring in the cities, Honey’s mother attempted to keep them safe.
Lacking any water, struggling with dehydration and lack of sleep the trio stumbled upon some men and women. Unbeknownst to them, these two men and three women were from the cannibal enclave in the newer Super Walmart building. After a few minutes Honey’s mother sensed something was amiss and attempted to leave.
A brief struggle happened in which her little brother was lost. Honey and her mother hoped that her little brother had managed to slip away but regrettably he was caught and killed. Not aware that her brother was now dead, Honey clung to her mother while the group took them to the newer Super Walmart building.
At the Walmart, Honey and her mother met Cauley for the first time. Honey was sent away in the care of another woman while Cauley wanted to talk to her mother. Fearful for her mother and concerned with the whereabouts of her younger brother, Honey went along leaving her mother alone.
Honey was given a bath and a change of clothes and then fed a delicious stew. (It was not until much later that she was told that she had eaten her brother that night.) Honey was tired so she laid down to sleep. When Honey woke up she realized someone was attempting to climb on to her trying to slide between her legs.
Honey kicked and bit the individual who eventually because he was much stronger overpowered her. Just as she was sure she was about to get raped, her mother appeared causing the man to lose interest. Her mother was hurt and limping badly. Cauley and three of his men had raped Honey’s mother repeatedly.
When it was Cauley’s turn to rape her mother, he had his men turn Honey’s mother over on to her stomach. While two of the men held Honey’s mother down, Cauley sodomised her. The men repeatedly sodomised Honey’s mother until they could no longer get an erection. Afterwards Honey’s mother hurriedly dressed and sought out her daughter.
The next few days passed in agony as Honey and her mother started to reveal the signs of early secondary KCAP infection. Having lost interest in Honey’s mother, Cauley now turned his attention to Honey. Cauley had a standing order that he got to rape all the women first so a few days after Honey and her mother joined the enclave, she was raped by Cauley and his three cronies.
Thankfully spared being sodomised, Honey due to her youth was still hurt badly. After Cauley and the men were done with Honey they no longer had an interest in her and moved on to other victims. After Honey and her mother recovered from their abuse, they were permitted a limited amount of freedom. Always watched Honey and her mother were fearful for their lives.
It was about this time that they learned the fate of the little brother and learned the true nature of the enclave. Honey and her mother were forced to partake in the ritual butchering and cooking of several humans. Nearly puking at the thought of what they were eating they were forced to eat at gunpoint.
One of the newer men refused to eat. He was clubbed senseless. While still alive he was hung upside down and his neck was slit the blood collected for stew. After bleeding out he was summarily butchered. During this time Honey and her mother learned that a group of heavily armed survivors were camped at a nearby farm. Learning that the survivor newcomers had a large amount of military weapons and vehicles, Cauley was wild with desire to acquire them.
Having already squeezed what he could from the Adventists, Cauley desperately wanted the weapons possessed by the convoy. Cauley arranged a scouting party having somehow been able to contact someone inside of the convoy. Honey’s mother, by offering to perform a rather disgusting sexual act for the scouting party leader, secured her place within the scouting party.
Honey was left behind as a hostage if her mother tried anything. While her mother was gone with the scouting party, Honey was watched closely. The scouting party was able to meet with their contacts within the convoy but a disagreement broke out between the three traitorous convoy members. The smaller Asian man and the very tall and skinny man they called Scarecrow disagreed over some matter. Honey was never sure what the disagreement was about.
Although there were supposed to be no weapons allowed at the meeting, the one called Scarecrow pulled a sharpened metal rod out and stabbed the Asian man. Tossing the gravely wounded Asian man in the water the cannibals and the convoy traitors split in case the fight was heard by the guards. Honey does not know more about the convoy traitors despite several questions from both Sam and Doc.
When the Adventists and convoy was meeting, Cauley was incised that they had cut him out of what he figured he was owed. Cauley had already once misjudged the Adventists and had lost several members in a battle with them. Not wishing to go directly against a group armed with military weaponry, Cauley decided to take the Adventists hostage while many of them were away at the convoy’s camp.
During this chaotic time, Honey’s mother performed the disgusting sexual act again and was able to convince the guard to let her and her daughter escape. Despite their fear of betrayal, the guard was good on his word and looked the other way as they slipped out of the Walmart. Honey and her mother were attempting to come to the convoy offering the identity of the traitors in exchange for safety. Slipping through the forest Honey stepped on a mine.
Her mother fearful for her daughter went to try to find help. When she returned Honey’s mother startled Shack who shot her on reflex. Thankfully Honey does not appear to hold a grudge against Shack although I tease him to sleep with one eye open just in case. Honey does not know the convoy traitor’s faces only that one was called Scarecrow and was always accompanied by a woman. The other convoy traitor was an Asian man who was stabbed and tossed into the creek.
Looking at Sam, Honey says “I am glad that you shot that bastard Cauley even though he might be the father of my baby. He hurt my mommy and made her butt bleed.”
Sam silently nods his head at her.
“Like fucking Han Solo,” mutters Shack beside me as if I needed a reminder.
“But Han Solo did not have an eye patch like a pirate nor was he missing an eye.” Honey quips.
Next chapter: What to do with traitors in our midst?
“Doc, you’re shittin’ me.”
He sighs. “Nope, Sam, I wish. Fetal heartbeat very distinct from her own. For someone standing on a landmine, she’s very calm.”
Sam tosses his hands in the air. “Well, fuck me running. Can’t just kill her now can we? All right get little mother off of the damned mine without killing the three of you.”
Doc remains close to the little pregnant cannibal. “Child what is your name?”
“Nevaeh, but I liked it better when you called me Honey.”
“We’ll call you whatever you wish. Honey hold still while we try to get you off that mine. You understand how dangerous this is for all of us, don’t you?”
The little pregnant cannibal girl nods her head up and down. Sam motions for the Spets soldier to proceed.
Shack shrugs and looks at the young Spets soldier. I translate for Matvei, whom other than mastering profanity, speaks little English. After handing his weapon to Shack, Matvei pulls his small OD green nylon tool case out.
The rest of us clear off to a safe distance. I remain close enough that I am mostly safe from the mine but close enough so that I can translate for Matvei. Walking carefully, Matvei kneels beside the young mother. He speaks quickly in Russian, and crosses himself in a manner very similar to what Doc did a few moments ago.
“He says that if you pray, it might not be such a bad idea to do so now.” I translate for the young cannibal girl whom we will now call Honey. The next several minutes drag by with agonizing slowness as we all watch Matvei appraise the mine with careful probes. All of the tools Matvei uses are nonmetallic.
After digging carefully around the mine with a fiberglass knife-shaped tool, Matvei uses a small mirror and a flashlight to inspect the mine. Matvei looks at all sides of the mine. Lying flat on his stomach upon the damp ground, he puts his face nearly in the hole getting a better look at the mine. Matvei suddenly sits up on his knees and swears an impressive string of curses likely to curl paint.
Not bothering to translate the inspiring string of curses I inquire in Russian what is wrong. Matvei explains what is wrong, and I ponder how best to impart this information. Matvei motions for me to come closer. He shows me the problem and then asks a few pointed questions. After a brief discussion in Russian between us, Matvei shrugs his shoulders at me.
Brushing the mud off of my clothes I again seek a somewhat safe distance from the mine. With Shack and the colonels looking at me expectantly and conscious of Honey, who can probably hear what I am about the say, I decide that honesty is best.
“Matvei says that because of the little girl’s … I meant Honey’s strength; she has pressed down so hard on the mine that she has bent the arming prongs. He is not able to safe the mine. Because the main stem is so severely bent he cannot get the safety clip inserted. Matvei is unsure how to safe the mine otherwise.”
Sam looks at Doc. “Do you think that she has mutated into a cannibal sufficiently so that her reflexes are fast enough for her to leap off of that mine and survive?”
“Shit, Sam I don’t know. She might be able to outrun the bouncing mine. Or hell, she may even survive the blast if she can get far enough from it. We know that the cannibals heal very quickly. But I just don’t know.”
Doc pulls his canteen off of his web belt. He takes a long drink and nearly empties the green plastic canteen. I do not recognize the smell of the cold tea that he is drinking. Wiping his mouth on his hand while replacing his OD plastic canteen in its Vietnam-era holder, Doc looks at Honey carefully.
“I learned from that dead bastard Cauley that the ingested strain of KCAP utilizes a very similar antibody cross-reactivity as rheumatic fever does. She’s first generation, a K1, same as Thing 1. She might have accumulated enough viral bodies, and she might not have. Until she pulls her foot off that mine, we have no way of knowing if she will survive the blast. I’d say the choice is hers.”
“Is there any way that we can knock the explosive payload away or deflect it?”
I translate Shack’s question for the kneeling Matvei, who shakes his head no. As we stand around the child in the fading sunlight discussing her fate, it starts to lightly hail mixed with sleet. Shack and I need to get to sleep, but I am one of only three people in the camp who fluently speaks Russian and English.
I soundly kiss Shack and send him off to bed. There is nothing he can do here so there is no sense in making him lose more sleep. Matvei explains to me the most likely way for Honey to avoid most of the mine’s deadly shrapnel.
After explaining to Honey what she needs to do after she steps off of the mine, I quickly clear the area. I am very familiar with the effectiveness of AP mines and have no desire to see their destruction again.
Not hearing an explosion I figured that Honey was still standing on the mine trying to summon the nerve to release her foot. That is until Honey walks up to me escorted by Matvei and the colonels.
“I took my foot off and nothing happened” she explains. I translate for Matvei. He opens his mouth to reply when suddenly there is a large explosion in the forest. We run quickly to the spot and see that the mine that Honey was standing upon has exploded.
Matvei rattles off a string of excited Russian. I translate the gist of his excited babble. When she bent the mine’s stem, it delayed its explosion. I am sent off to bed. Realizing that I am starving and missed breakfast I instead head into the farmhouse. I find Shack sitting at the table shoveling chunks of dark tan pancakes into his mouth. I kiss him lightly on his stubbly chin before sitting down to my own pile of pancakes.
I have never eaten pancakes with oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and brown rice flour in them. The pancakes are better tasting than a lot of other things that we have eaten lately. Heavier-textured than I would have usually preferred the pancakes are hardly low carb.
Carb counting is hardly a thought as I drown the plate-sized hot pancakes in warmed blackstrap molasses burying a shameless amount of real butter. The Adventists have several working butter churners. I never thought that I would taste real butter again.
I notice that the cook’s guard is on kitchen duty this morning. He pours a fresh cup of hot tea for me while offering Shack a refill, which he declines. Sipping the tea and expecting the horrid Spruce tip tea I am slightly surprised at what I taste. The unsweetened light green tea has a faintly grass-like taste with a hint of lemon.
Like a shameless Philistine, I gulp my first cup of tea down but slow down to savor the warmth in my hands of the second cup. Holding the warm cup like it is a living being gently cupped in my hands, I let the warmth of tea seep into my cold hands.
Sniffing the tea, I detect faint flowery scents with some citrus. Seeing my quizzical expression, Shack offers his opinion. “I don’t know sweetheart, but it beats that pine tree shit we’ve been drinking forever.”
“That pine tree shit, as you call it, has vitamin C in it, which you need unless you’d like to experience the nautical thrill ride of scurvy” Brenda explains entering the room with our Indian cook. Taking off their jackets and hanging their M16s on the coat rack, the ladies adjust their pistol belts and briefly join us at the table.
“You’re drinking one of my tea blends. A combination of common cudweed, Gnaphalium polycephalum, mixed with just a little bit of ‘Orange Balsam’ thyme.”
Brenda heads into the kitchen disappearing from sight for a bit. Shack and I finish our dripping mountain of pancakes. Lingering over a fresh cup of the citrusy tasting tea Shack and I are practically asleep when Brenda returns from the kitchen carrying a large metal kitchen pot followed by Junior.
Brenda startles Shack and I by slamming the swinging kitchen door open. Shack leaps to his feet his Serbu shotgun in his right hand. I find myself standing in a pistol crouch with my Browning Hi-Power in my hands safety off, finger on the trigger.
Brenda stands very still wide-eyed in shock. “Easy you two. You’re as nervous as long-tailed cats in room full of rocking chairs.” Brenda shakes her head at us like we are misbehaving children. Shack and I replace our weapons before sitting at the table again.
Brenda tosses some dried herbs into a small smudge pot and places it in the bottom of the large kitchen pot. Draping a towel over a large pot, Brenda directs Junior to cover his head and breathe deeply.
“Junior has asthma very badly. The smoke of dried Belladonna and Jimson Weed is helpful for such respiratory ailments. It might help him breathe easier. The smoke eases his lungs. The tea you’re drinking has a mild calming effect which is why you are feeling so sleepy. Everyone is so on edge.”
Shack and I polish off the last of our tea consigning a coughing Junior to Brenda’s care. Leaving the farmhouse we can hear Phyllis commence beating upon some Godforsaken piece of metal. Shack mutters something about a BFH, which I do not quite catch.
As Shack and I leave the farmhouse lawn seeking our bed, Honey, the pregnant cannibal escorted by three of our soldiers walks into the farmhouse. We notice that the little cannibal does not appear to be carrying any weapons.
“In the land of the unarmed, she with a stick is queen.” He mutters.