Zombie Apocalypse Fiction – Ruth’s Story #55 – Rolling Down the Road in Convoy on 522 NE SHTF & TEOTWAWKI
Someone starts yelling “Go! Go!” at the top of their voice. Everyone runs for their vehicles and cranks them up.
First through the dusty, smoking maw is the snow plow followed quickly by the HEMTTs, the colonel’s VW, my little car, and Carol’s Chevy pickup behind me. I assume the Tail End Charlie Hummer is back there somewhere.
Sporadic gunfire resonates from the front of the convoy. We pass several dead zombies lying in the street and sidewalk that were either shot, ran over or both.
Shack gets my Kevlar helmet situated upon my head. I yank the NVGs down finding them already activated and warmed up situating them so I can drive. The NVGs are not the latest and newest generation, but they will do and is better than nothing. The ability to drive at night without using headlights is an advantage.
Driving with my knees, while I unclip my AR15 I hand the carbine to Shack who flips the safety on and sets it muzzle down by his left leg. The convoy should have been better prepared when the girders were cleared.
Next time we need to have drivers ready, rather than running for their vehicles. Less spectators for the work, might be a hard sell, but we need to roll immediately, not wait until drivers and passengers are in the vehicles.
It is a shame that zombies cannot look surprised as 13 tons of snow plow came slamming through the sheet metal wall and ran them over. The noise from the torches attracted a larger crowd on the sides than I was prepared for.
Just as, I am wondering about our motley convoy, the rear guard Hummer comes roaring into position behind Carol with a large, white and chrome lumbering food service truck in front of the Hummer which takes position behind Carol’s Chevy pickup.
As the food dispensing, truck takes position over the radio comes a stark transmission. “Scouts in and down for the night.” I hear two clicks of someone’s transmit button, and I forget about it as I see the food truck appear behind Carol again.
In bright red letters, “Tacos and Fajitas Ala Spencer” (tacos and fajitas by Spencer? – sounds like a white person, very non-Hispanic name) is painted across the nose of the large, square truck. I am fluent in Castilian Spanish although I can understand South American and Caribbean Spanish as well, even if the dialects are slightly different.
Going around a sharp bend to the left, I see our new addition is driven by a soldier but the distance and the poor quality NVGs make identifying the driver impossible at this range. I see large plastic cockroaches, a gaudy plastic road runner bird, and several tropical birds including a male peacock glued to the sides and to the dash of the truck. The taco truck is decidedly kitschy-looking.
As I am watching the ponderous taco truck wallowing in the street behind Carol, it suddenly emits a blaring, tinny, ear-piercing performance of “La Cucaracha,” followed by “Tequila,” and then “Low Rider.”
Suddenly over the radio in the middle of the first stanza of “Low Rider” comes a stern command. “Quit playing with the fucking PA system in that fajita truck!” The music ceases immediately, although there was some giggling heard in the back ground.
Whoever transmitted the command to obey noise discipline, pronounced “fajita” as “Fah-Gita.” Not sure if that mispronunciation is intentional or due to ignorance, but on purposely butchering someone’s language is rude.
We make decent time as we get farther from the city center. Rolling into an area where Lake City Way NE becomes a divided highway again, we continue plowing through the lightest concentration of abandoned cars.
The split highway lasts for a few miles, and I swear that we pass several houses that are occupied. Our convoy led by the fucking ginormous snow plow and several HEMTTs is not exactly subtle so we attract plenty of attention.
Around a large business building to the right, there is a large assemblage of rotting corpses. The corpses that I see are spread in a wide semicircle around the front of the building.
Shack mutters, “I see dead people everywhere.”
“Smart ass,” I tell him.
Most of the corpses around the building are in such a woeful state of decomposition and predation by scavengers, as we passed, I could not tell if they were living when they were shot or if they were zombies when shot.
The smell is so miserable I pull out a cigarette, and stick it in my mouth. Shack sees the cigarette in my mouth and says, “Please don’t, I will puke if you smoke in here. Combined with the smell of those dead bodies behind us, I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke right now.”
“Looks like a sniper is in that building or someone with some skill,” Shack says looking behind us as we pass the gory, putrid scene. “Pretty good shooting from an elevated position. Most of those were one shot kills to the brain by something large. Smaller calibers don’t usually blow up the head like that.”
Thankfully the vehicles in front of us smeared most of the corpses lying in the street so by the time we passed there was little for my little car to drive through but liquefied putrid goo.
I put my cigarette back in to the pack in my shirt pocket. We ride in silence for a while alone with our thoughts, when the first few drops of rain start falling.
At first I do not see the rain although I hear it hitting the car’s window. Shack starts to crank his window down, and I tell him sharply not to roll the window down.
On a hunch, I hand my Sure Fire flash light to Shack. “Spare your night vision, but shine the light on the hood of the car and tell me what you see.”
I see Shack in the luminescent green glow of my NVGs nod at me, and does what I ask. I hear him gasp as I see him flash the small light on the hood of the car through the windshield a couple of times.
“Dude! The rain is black!” Shack says.
“Yeah I figured it might be, considering the profligate use of nuclear weapons and all of the uncontrolled fires,” I tell him. Silence falls for a few minutes, and then my radio squawks with Jamal’s voice.
“Ruth, are you trying to signal us,” Jamal asks over the radio. “I saw your flashing light but did not get the message.”
I grab my radio and push the transmit button. “Uh, no Jamal sorry about the light show. I had Shack check the rain. The rain is black – do you have a Geiger counter handy?”
“Wait one,” Jamal says over the radio.
A few minutes of silence pass as we drive along in the increasing harder pouring rain. Usually I can smell rain. Growing up in the desert, rain is a precious and cherished thing. I used to love the smell of the rain as it came out of the mountains in Israel. Rain always reminds me of my uncle’s olive groves.
“Everyone listen up, Ruth called it. The rain is full of fallout. It is in the high-warning low-lethality zone, but no one should be getting wet. Everyone stay out of the rain. If someone was standing in this rain, for any length of time, it is likely they will accrue a lethal dose of radiation.” Jamal sounds tired.
Because of all of the nuclear weapons used and the fires, I am not surprised the skies are full of crap kicked up into the atmosphere. That shit, quite a bit of it radioactive, will be coming down for a while making rain a dangerous health hazard for a while.
While I drive listening to Jamal as he continues to explain the hazards of fall-out laced rain, I hear snoring and looking over at Shack and see that he has fallen asleep.
The pouring rain has been steady, with occasional torrential cloud bursts. I wish these ex-Canadian Army ITT binocular NVGs had a rain setting like some of the newer generations of NVGs.
I ride in silence, with the exception of Shack’s light snoring and the falling rain, for a few minutes when the convoy suddenly stops.