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Fiction – Ruth’s Story #46 Coming back to the Lake City Way barricade from first the raid after SHTF & TEOTWAWKI

June 17, 2012

With all members of the raid together, we walk carefully and slowly to the exit of the veterinarian supply business. In a loose group, we take a knee by the shattered glass entry door. From the zombies, several of which are now truly dead no longer mobile corpses, it looks as if the veterinarian supply business was a front for the meth lab.

Hiding a meth lab behind a vet supply store must have been a pretty decent way to hide the meth lab. It was one of the largest and best supplied meth labs that I have ever seen. There must have been several million dollars street value of meth still inside the lab.

Randy speaks softly as we all take a knee at the exit door from the business. I am thankful for the knee pads as I kneel in the shattered glass listening to it crunch underneath me.

“We go back in groups of two. Avoid silhouetting yourself and try to remain spread out. You want to avoid large groups because that attracts the zombie’s attention. Do not shoot unless you have no other choice. Use your hatchet or knife first if you can do so without overly risking yourself. If in doubt—shoot.”

Randy pauses to spit a stream of tobacco juice on the floor. In our NVGs, the stream looks black almost like blood.

“You two (he points at the two young soldiers with the heavy military duffel bags full of items picked up from the vet business) go back first. If you get in to trouble, the next pair will be five minutes behind you.”

The two young soldiers nod at the former Sergeant Major. “Go,” he says and the two young men take off at a brisk trot. The two men have tossed the military O.D. green duffel bags over their backs and are running hunched over.

Nikola and I kneel in the doorway of the business with Sutton and Randy kneeling behind us.

“You two are next,” Randy says, “Get ready to go when I tell you to.”

We sit in silence for a few minutes watching the eerie empty roadway. Occasionally zombies wander down the street, but not close enough to be a hazard.

“When there is enough moon or other light to see zombies will move in the dark. In total pitch dark, they remain absolutely still.”

This little nugget of information imparted by Randy is fascinating. I wonder why the zombies stand still in the dark.

“Get ready.” Randy says.

Nikola and I grasp our hatchets. My hatchet is still dripping nasty shit as I grasp it in my right hand. I consider another hot shower.

“Go,” Randy says.

Nikola and I rise to our feet and run at an easy trot heading west towards the barricade. Nikola is about three steps in front and to my left as we trot down the sidewalk westbound on NE 80th Street towards Lake City Way. We run hunched over so as not to silhouette ourselves against the abandoned cars in the street.

Coming to the corner of NE 80th Street and Lake City Way we encounter the two young soldiers that departed first beside one of the numerous abandoned cars. One of the soldiers is lying still on the ground on his back partly against the car. He is coated in a wet substance that looks shiny black in our NVGs. I fear I may know what the black fluid is.

Just to the south of the soldier lying on the ground is the corpse of a zombie with an anti-personnel hatchet buried in its face sticking up like a gory flag.

The second young soldier is kneeling over his companion, holding his reclining friend’s right hand. I see the lips of the soldier lying on the ground moving but cannot hear what he is saying. The reclining soldier holds his left hand to his neck. As I get close enough to see what happened I see the soldier on the ground, has been bitten several times on the left arm and left side of his neck. My fears are confirmed as I realize the young soldier has been grievously wounded.

Nikola kneels beside the uninjured soldier. “What occurred,” he asks the kneeling soldier in a voice barely above a whisper.

“We were running back to the barricade, and Jonah ran straight into the arms of a zombie that was coming around the corner on Lake City Way. He had barely time to yell before the zombie bit him. Jonah managed to bury his hatchet in the dead fucker’s face, but he is royally fucked and he knows it.”

As I kneel beside Nikola, the kneeling soldier and the grievously wounded Jonah, I see the black fluid is blood that is still pouring from the soldier’s body. I smell the thick coppery scent of fresh blood and see it bubbling out of ragged holes in Jonah’s arms and neck. Even in the NVGs, the blood looks foamy, and I can see it continuously bubbling up through Jonah’s fingers of his left hand still clasped to his neck.

“Say goodbye of yours to a friend, then take his sack and go say to Sam and Jamal of what happened.” Nikola seems saddened as well by the loss of another young soldier. “Your friend must shoot self in the head, or I will do it if he or you are not able.”

“Thanks, man. Jonah is Catholic, so he cannot shoot himself because that would be committing suicide which is a mortal sin for him. I can’t shoot him, he’s my battle buddy.”

The young man bends over his friend, and says something too soft for any of us to hear. He grabs the other O.D. green duffel bag and runs across the street to the barricade. I think I see the shiny streaks of tears on the young soldier’s face as he leaves, but I will never mention it to him.

Nikola scoots closer to the mortally injured young soldier. He begins to say something in Russian, and it takes a few words before I realize he is praying. Nikola must be Russian Orthodox, as he finishes a prayer for the boy’s soul that I understood although I only caught a few words. Nikola pulls an ornate Orthodox cross out from beneath his military blouse and blue and white striped wife beater. The cross hangs around his neck on a fine herringbone chain.

Nikola leans over the young man closer to him letting his cross almost strike the young man in the face. This move distracts the soldier and me so much that I almost do not see Nikola pull a suppressed Walther P22 out of his left thigh pocket.

While the young soldier’s attention is caught by the dangling Orthodox cross in front of his face, he does not see the P22 suppressor’s muzzle quickly pressed against his left temple. The small pistol coughs once and the boy goes still with a soft sigh.

Nikola says something again in Russian too softly for me to hear. Then he turns and looks at me. “Ruth, please help me search him and remove anything of worth and of personal type.”

I move to kneel on the opposite side of the corpse from Nikola, and we quickly search the boy’s body. We take weapons, ammo, a small bible, a devotional, a small green notebook and all of his military gear with the exception of his blood soaked BDUs. We leave one dog tag around Jonah’s neck. Nikola takes the other dog tag and pockets it.

Nikola checks the car that we are kneeling beside. A quick inspection reveals the car to be a late-model, boxy Nissan SUV of some kind. Nikola checks to see if the doors are locked. He rattles the SUV’s door handle closest to our position and looks inside with an IR flashlight to see if the car is occupied.

Discovering that the Nissan SUV is unoccupied and unlocked, Nikola and I open the passenger door. Opening the door releases a miasma of body odor, old cigarette smoke, and rotting food.

Nikola and I shove Jonah’s body in to the car to lie in the front passenger seat. Jonah’s body is lying on a small mountain of trash as you cannot see the passenger seat because of all the shit piled in it.

Nikola notices that the keys are in the ignition; he reaches over and turns the key.

“Nyet,” he says in a soft whisper, “Is dead.”

We notice the inside of the car is literally stuffed with newspapers, magazines, trashy pot boiler paperback books, numerous hard back books, and various boxes of papers, notepads and ledgers. Quite a lot of moldy and rotting fast food containers litter the inside of the car along with several rotting grease stained fast food restaurant paper sacks.

Numerous empty plastic soda bottles ranging from small sixteen ounce bottles to large two liter bottles litter the inside of the car. Most of the soda bottles appear to be Mountain Dew, but there are a few other brands of soda as well like Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper. Some of the plastic soda bottles have liquid inside of them, and I shudder to think what that liquid may be.

The shells of sun flower seeds litter every square surface of the interior of the car. Several empty plastic bags of various brands of sun flower seeds litter the car.

Scattered within the wasteland are numerous empty packs of cigarettes. Cigarette ashes and old cigarette butts litter the driver’s side of the car and the floor of the car. A cursory search of the car’s passenger seat reveals nothing of interest.

Nikola walks around the car to open the driver’s door. He starts to dig around a little bit, finding several more empty cigarette cartons, several empty disposable plastic lighters and other unidentifiable refuse.

The car’s dash is likewise littered with greasy rotting fast food containers, old, moldy paper phone books, and numerous moldy paper notebooks with illegible scrawl on some of the pages.

I find several ball point pens and various lead pencils on the dash which I pocket. Writing materials will come in handy. I reject the paper note pads as most of them are moldy and damp.

I look at Nikola who is now carefully rummaging around in the driver’s seat area of the car. “Is cop’s car or private dick’s car,” he says. He pushes some nasty garbage around with his hatchet clearing an area beside the dead soldier in-between the driver and passenger’s seats.

Nikola digs around in between the seats and discovers an old film SLR camera.

“Is old Nikon F1,” he says, “With 35 – 55mm Nikon lens.”

Nikola pockets the old, battered camera and continues his search. Nikola seems determined to clear a spot between the seats.

“Ah hah,” Nikola says softly reaching underneath the driver’s seat. He holds up a small, very distinct gun. Even wearing NVGs there is no mistaking the battered Walther PPK in Nikola’s right hand.

Nikola ejects the pistol’s magazine and holds it up. “9mm Kurz,” he says, “Pistol is in need of cleaning and much good oil. Shame to treat nice pistol like so.”

“Nikola, they call it .380 ACP here in America,” I tell him. He shrugs and pulls the PPK’s slide back slowly to check the chamber. “Empty,” he says. It is my turn to shrug at him, while he pockets the small pistol and magazine. I notice he puts the PPK in the opposite thigh cargo pocket from his other Walther pistol.

I occasionally glance over Nikola’s shoulder since his ass is in the street hoping that nothing attacks him or that I will spot it before it does. I hope he likewise watches over my backside facing the sidewalk.

Nikola reaches into his web gear, and from one of the larger pockets pulls out a long dark-colored oblong canister-like tube that resembles somewhat an oversized smoke grenade. The center of the tube has a lot of dark-colored thin wire wrapped around it which terminates in a claymore-looking clacker.

Stretching across the car, putting my mouth next to his right ear, I whisper, “Nikola what in God’s name is that?”

Very softly he replies, “Is old Soviet wire remote detonating thermite grenade. Is nearly 40 years old so hold and kiss own ass and hope works.”

As I am processing that little tidbit of information, a soft, familiar voice asks from behind me, so close that it ruffles the sensitive hairs on the back of my neck, “And pray tell what the fuck you are going to do with a thermite grenade?”

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19 Comments
  1. Great chapter. I’m guessing that the thermite grenade is to make the old car full of combustibles into a funeral pyre.

    • Ah yes, thermite is a great start to a funeral pyre.

  2. Craig W permalink

    Very nice, but I’m hoping that they get out of Lake City Way soon. Too bad about Jonah, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later to one of them.

    • The next installment will have Ruth and the convoy on the road again.

  3. What about the bagged and tagged folks? Yes I know…patience young Skywalker.

    • Will, thanks for your careful reading. Your question will be answered in the next installment.

  4. Great detail about the cop car – looks like someone lived out of it for a while. Wonder what ever happened to them.

    • Helios permalink

      Probably one of the zombies. A particularly deliciously deep-fat fried, bacon wrapped, cheese flavored zombie.

      • That is funny Helios!

    • Thank you Craig, we may never learn what happened to the owner of the old SUV. In SHTF stories like these no matter if they are zombie or other genre, you never know what happened to a lot of people.

  5. The SIG ammo and the Walther should come in handy. In that situation, I’d think that you could never have enough ammo.

    • You are correct Will that you cannot ever have enough ammo in a SHTF situation. The more ammo you have the better.

  6. Jaeger permalink

    I really liked the detail about how Nikola put Jonah out of his suffering. I felt for him.

    • Thank you Jaeger, it was my first attempt at evoking an emotional response in my readers.

  7. Craig W permalink

    You’ve got me hooked. When can we expect the next one?

    • I hope to get the next installment posted in the next day or say. I have midterm tests this week as I returned to school after I retired from the Army.

  8. I look every morning for an update. When I don’t see one, I check in the afternoon. Good luck with midterms, which I will blame for not seeing another of your excellent chapters.

  9. Nancy Klune permalink

    Sooooo looking forward to the next chapter. Excellent story. Thank you very much.

    • Thanks for hanging around Nancy. New chapter up shortly today.

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