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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #62 traveling through the wilds of Kenmore, encountering gangs & other fun SHTF TEOTWAWKI

September 6, 2012

Sorry have not posted in far too many days. Another major plot change and rewrite, followed by a long holiday weekend where I did not get nearly enough writing done. My BBQ duties aside, I did manage to write a little. To make up for the delay, and lack of posts, this post is significantly longer. Now that my children are back in school during the day (thank God!) I hope to post chapters in a more consistent manner. As always I appreciate your comments and suggestions. If they are particularly good, you may even see some of your ideas incorporated into the story.

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Running towards the convoy was a group of about 20 armed, motley bearded men carrying flashlights, wearing a few LED headlamps, and even carrying some honest to God smoky, guttering torches.

You know the kind of torches I am talking about – the wooden stick homemade improvised kind that produce a lot of smoke and darned little light. The kind of torch, an angry mob, would carry chasing some poor monster. Whoever made the torches did not appear to have an understanding that zombies are attracted to flame.

Most of the men appeared to be armed with typical bolt or lever-action hunting rifles. I see a few handguns as well, mostly revolvers. None of the weapons appear to be military, although one man did have a pair of black (nylon I think) shotgun shell bandoliers crisscrossing his chest Pancho Villa style.

The short burst from the SAW followed by a slightly lengthier burst from the Negev instantly scatters the group. The two near consecutive machine gun bursts knock down six or so men to the ground immediately, struck by the fusillades from the machine guns.

The armed group of men scattering happens practically at the same time as the arrival of a humongous horde of shambling undead. The undead appear like a dark wave out from around the buildings, and between the abandoned cars. The horde of undead is utterly silent other than the occasional sound of falling feet or something knocked over by the undead.

With barely enough illumination to see unaided by NVGs, a few dropped torches and flashlights faintly illuminate the grisly scene. Perhaps these armed men were not expecting or used to dealing with armed victims. Especially not victims armed with belt fed machine guns. It is a shitty thing when your expected victims shoot at you.

Shooting back at the convoy while, in full haul-ass retreat mode, a few of the armed men manage to flee into the buildings lining the street. Their return fire though has little effect as most of it either strikes zombies or flies wide of the convoy.

I am not sure who shot first, or who made the first hostile action, we will have to settle that quandary later. I am not even sure what the ROE (Rules of Engagement) is right now. ROE and OOB (Order of Battle) are two things we are going to have to discuss.

The pitiful mewling sounds of the wounded and maimed immediately increase in pitch as the zombies, attracted by the noise, descend like a black crashing wave on the bloody meal laying in the street. Couple of the less-wounded men, attempt to flee from the zombies only to be grabbed and dragged into the morass of hungry undead.

Nikola tosses a Russian frag grenade with a high, arching overhand lob. He shouts, “Golovy! Granata k boyu!” In his haste and urgency, he forgot to speak English. Then Nikola shouts again, “Granata, beregis!

As we run to take cover hastily behind the snow plow, I yell at Nikola in Russian, “Govoritʹ na angliyskom yazyke Nikolay (speak English Nikola!)” Then I yell as loud as I can for the other soldiers, “Frag out!”

I distinctly heard the popping sound of the grenade’s fuse arming as it flew in a high arc over the heads of the zombies to land somewhere within their midst. About the time that I finish shouting, the grenade explodes with an ear-splitting eye blinding crack.

Parts of zombies and other shit fly about painting the trees with gore. Intestines and other gory, bloody bits hang dripping from the trees like rotting fruit. A hot pressured wave of burning, rotting flesh scented air washes over us.

Nikola and I lay single shot covering fire joined by the SAW and Negev in the snow plow as the feral BMX kids scatter for the trucks. I do not see the need to put my rifle on either three round burst or full auto.

Nikola with his suppressed thread cutter rifle with NSPUM-3 night scope mounted makes careful well placed shots, the slow, heavy 9mm bullets proving highly effective on zombies. I still wonder just how many of the unique 9x39mm rounds Nikola managed to bring with him from Russia.

The armed men forgotten, concentrated gunfire impacts the closest zombies. Zombies start dropping in large groups, in boneless heaps, as if a puppet whose strings are cut. Far too many rounds strike zombies places other than their heads.

Most of the convoy’s weapons are shooting at the fucking ginormous horde of undead in the street. Providing cover for the convoy to get underway, the convoy’s weapons, at first, curtail the wave of undead. After a few moments though, the sheer number of zombies swells to a point where our meager gunfire is not having any effect.

Nikola and I run back to our vehicles and jump in. Shouting on the radio with lots of profanity and irreverence, the colonels urge the convoy to get rolling again. If we get bogged down fighting such an enormous zombie horde, we may not be able to push our way through.

With an accompanying smattering, of gunfire the convoy finally gets rolling again. At the rear of the convoy, the distinct rattle of the M240 accompanies the shooting from the rest of the convoy.

In my little car, Shack is sitting with the window down on the open passenger door window sill. Leaning over the roof of the car, Shack is calmly single head shooting zombies as we drive away. Shack’s empty brass rattles down my window and roll off my bonnet.

“Shack hang on,” I yell at him. Shack pounds twice on the roof of the car. I hope that means he is ready. Shack reaches inside the car and wraps his left hand around the passenger seat belt. He maintains his fire towards the zombie, but it is not as accurate now that we are moving, and he is shooting one-handed.

Transmitted several times over the radio cease-fire order is given. The order is repeated a few more times with impressive profanity for good measure even though the amount of gun fire slackens. The gun fire ceases eventually.

Shack drops back into his seat. I pop my NVGs down and activate them as it is getting too dark to drive without them. Shack helps me adjust my NVGs so they are aligned correctly. I cannot take my hands off of the steering wheel (or rather I should not) to adjust my NVGs so Shack helps me.

I appreciate Shack’s help and tell him so. Even though, the quarters are close in the little car, I do not mind Shack leaning against me to help me fix my NVGs. Shack pats me on the shoulder, makes sure that I am comfortable, and can see well enough to drive.

Shack takes my POF AR15 off of me and lays it muzzle down beside his left leg. He also flips the safety on, which I am not going to argue about right now. I will take the safety off when I pick my rifle up again. I just have to remember the safety is on.

Shack gets settled back in his seat, and guzzles a bottle of water. Shack hands a sealed plastic bottle of water to me. I gulp down the 20 ounce bottle of tepid water without even realizing that I was so thirsty. We screw on the bottle lids and toss the empty bottles into the back seat. Maybe we can refill them later.

I notice that Shack has his NVGs down and activated, as well. His face looks deathly pale in the faint green light cast by the NVGs. Shack wipes his mouth on his sleeve and then crams a new magazine into his rifle from his LBV.

After ensuring the safety is on, Shack drops his own rifle muzzle down between his legs. Shack swears for a moment and wiggles around in his seat until he pulls two empty 30 round M16 magazines from underneath his ass.

“Damn these things hurt when you sit on ‘em,” Shack says to no one in particular. Shack refills his two empty and partially emptied magazines. I hand Shack my empty magazines from my dump pouch.

Shack pulls a full AR15 magazine from my LBV and swaps it for the partially emptied magazine in my rifle. Shack refills my empty magazines and tops off my partially emptied AR15 magazine. Shack takes the refilled magazines and shoves them in my LBV pouches.

. Shack and I do a quick ammo tally and realize that between us, we shot 140 rounds of 5.56 ammunition. Neither of us used any grenades, only Nikola used a grenade. Neither Shack nor I used our pistols either. Shack shuts his NVGs off and tips them up against his helmet.

We drive in silence for a while, well other than Shack’s snoring, until the near midnight break. I shake Shack awake, and we get out of our little idling Smart car and stretch. I tip my NVGs up and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. The night is brisk and extremely dark with heavy clouds overhead.

I still occasionally see the bright cobalt blue flash of lightning within the clouds. I do not hear any thunder, so I believe the storm is too far away to be of concern. I wonder how long the lightning is going to last.

Orders calling for ammo status are transmitted over the radio. Shack and I do a quick ammo tally. Shack calls in our request for ammunition. We listen to the other convoy units make similar ammo requests.

The side of the roadway quickly becomes a latrine as crew and riders take the opportunity to answer the call of nature. Shack does his thing, males being lucky that they can piss quicker and easier than females. Males not needing TP to piss is a plus, as well.

While I am squatting in the bushes trying not to piss either on my pants or boots, a skinny lad dressed in BMX protective gear rides up carrying a soldier on the back of his bike. The kid stares open mouthed at me squating in the bush until the soldier smacks him upside the head. The bicycle rider has a wooden stocked SKS rifle slung over his shoulder. I wonder if that is the same SKS that Nikola was given.

As the lad gets nearer I see the muzzle of the SKS sticking out from underneath the lad’s right hip. I see the distinctive grenade launcher tip indicating the SKS is most likely one of the Romanian or Yugoslavian rifles imported several years ago.

The SKS rifle has the large blade bayonet slung underneath the barrel which tells me it was probably imported before 2013 when such rifles and accessories became illegal. As the boy turns around to talk to his rider, I see that the SKS rifle is entirely stock, with no aftermarket parts that I can see.

The SKS is a butt ugly rifle, but it is a hardy and basic rifle with a two piece bolt that strips tapered 7.62×39 rounds easily from a fixed 10 round magazine. It chucks empties with authority. Although not terribly accurate, on par with the M1 carbine, the SKS will shoot about four to five-inch groups at 100 yards.

The BMX bicycle rider is carrying a solider as a passenger standing on pegs over the rear tire. The soldier with his left hand on the rider’s left shoulder is dressed in the current issue fatigues. The soldier carries a sheet of notebook paper and an O.D. green canvas messenger bag hanging on his left hip slung over his left shoulder.

An M4 hangs vertically over the soldier’s back and a holstered M9 is on his right hip. His LBV has the standard load out of six magazines for his M4, three frag grenades and what might be a smoke or flash bang grenade. I cannot tell from here, even with my NVGs, what the soldier’s fourth grenade might be.

Consulting the sheet of notepaper, the soldier whom I have seen before doling out ammo, reaches into his messenger bag and hands Shack four brown cardboard ammo boxes. Shack and the ammo delivering soldier talk for a few moments, but while I can hear the sound of their voices, they are talking too softly for me to overhear.

With a nod, at Shack, the ammo messenger remounts his taxi, and both proceed down the convoy. As I am straightening my clothes, another BMX riding lad comes peddling by also carrying a similarly armed soldier standing on the bike rear tire pegs.

This bicycle rider is dressed in similar hard plastic BMX protective gear, but whereas the previous rider’s was all white, this rider has black and red decorative markings. A large Fox face is painted in the center of the BMX rider’s chest.

This kid carries an honest to God gold-plated Desert Eagle in a black nylon shoulder holster. I wonder where the kid got such a large and unpractical pistol. I also wonder what caliber the monster pistol is chambered in.

This riding soldier’s green O.D. messenger bag holds warm tin foil wrapped mysterious objects of which he hands one to each convoy member. As the two pass by, I get a look again at the ginormous Desert Eagle underneath the kid’s left arm pit.

With my NVGs, I cannot see what caliber the Desert Eagle pistol is. I also cannot ascertain if it is an older IMI Israeli made pistol or one of the newer pistols. I see that the pistol also has a black scope mounted on top to the front rail. I am going to have to talk to this kid later and eventually track down the Negev carrying soldier, as well.

I rejoin Shack after the warm tin foil wrapped mystery is pressed into my hands. Shack is leaning against our car already half way done eating his burrito. Tonight’s burrito is a repeat of our breakfast, but it still tastes excellent.

Shack and I get in our little car and await movement orders. Shack drinks a bottle of water, while I finish the now lukewarm sweet tea from earlier this evening. I notice a square strange black knife clipped to Shack’s LBV that I had not noticed before.

“Shack what is that a new knife,” I ask pointing at the knife handle.

“Nah, Ruth this is my Blackhawk Hawkhook Rescue Tool. I dug it outta my ruck while you were sleeping today. I got thinking that if we need to get something, say like clothes off someone again in a hurry, I might want my little tool.”

Oh, so Shack heard how I stripped the Princess. I guess that it makes sense that he would want a rescue tool, I guess. Still not following what stripping the Princess has to do with Shack digging a rescue tool out.

Shack unclips the small rescue tool and hands it to me. Opening the rescue tool, I admire its simple but elegant design. The tool has a screwdriver blade, serrated rope cutting blade, and a bottle open. The bottle opener alone would have made this tool popular with IDF soldiers so they could open good Israeli bottled beer.

I notice that the rescue tool has a point for smashing car windows and wonder if that was one of Shack’s worries, that we might have to abandon our little car in a hurry sometime. I wonder how many of these tools are floating around the convoy. I will bet this is the only one.

I close the tool and hand it back to Shack who clips it back on to his LBV. We climb into our idling car and wait for movement orders. The silence seems uncomfortable, so I attempt to start a conversation with Shack to pass the time while we wait.

“Shack what were you and the ammo delivering soldier talking about,” I ask. I hope he does not think I am prying.

“That is Shawn; he’s from the 11th North Dakota, and he’s from Bismarck. He was sayin’ that the feral BMX kids might be used as scouts or runners. The kids had only two guns amongst them. One kid has a big fucking gold Desert Eagle pistol which you probably noticed. The other kid has an SKS of some kind or ‘nother.” Shack pauses to open and gulp down a bottle of water.

Shack offers a sealed bottle of water to me, and I take it. I open the bottled water and gulp half of the bottle down. I close the bottle’s lid and drop the bottle in one of the numerous cup holders in this Smart car.

Shack continues talking after a moment. “We lost a kid this evening. Doc Jamal tried to save him, but he caught a bullet in the stomach during that little skirmish. Kid bled out, there was nothin’ Doc could do but make the kid comfortable as possible until he died.”

Shack pauses as move orders are issued and the convoy gets moving again. As the convoy gets up to speed Shack continues his tale. “Apparently the kids had been doing alright as long as they could find convenience stores or vending machines to loot. When food started to get scarce, zombies more prevalent and the gangs moved in claiming and collecting most of the food, it was hard to feed ‘em all.”

Shack pauses to look around outside the car with his NVGs as we drive through eastern Kenmore. “Apparently an older girl went to trade for food with one of the largest and most powerful gangs. She never returned. The gang mighta kept her as a sex toy, sold her to another gang or to cannibals. From the girl’s younger brother, he says that she is a real looker with big ol’ tities, long blonde hair and long legs up to her arm pits. Makin’ her prime meat for scumbags. She might be only 17, but the kid says she looks much older, like in her 20s.”

We ride in silence for a while. I note that the roadway takes a turn to the north, and we pass Blythe Park to the right. I wonder if the park is as zombie infested as the golf course we passed the other night.

All of a sudden, Shack starts talking again startling me. “The kids at first thought this was all a game. No school, no parents, and all the free time they could want to play video games. Then the power went out. The kids were having fun pulling pranks on zombies. Tying zombie’s shoe laces together, hanging a blaring boom box on one, putting lit fire works like Roman candles and Black Cats in their pants and other such pranks. On their bikes, the kids are faster than any zombie, so until the gangs moved in they were living pretty high on the hog.”

We pass Yakima Fruit Market and Nursery on the left which is a burnt out ruin. Numerous disabled vehicles, some of them burnt out, lay in the street surrounding the flame gutted hulk of the fruit market.

There are plenty of zombies as well as the truly dead scattered all over the area. The area has a distinct battle zone feel to it; reminds me slightly of Lebanon. The building and several nearby vehicles are bullet ridden, as if a pitched battle took place here.

Over the radio, news that the snow plow is having difficulty getting through the abandoned cars is broadcast. This early in the morning is too early to stop for the day. This does not appear to be an ideal spot either for a bivouac.

The news that we are going to have to take some time to clear this mess so that we can get through is not welcome. An array of infrared lights is set up around the perimeter. Orders to use quiet methods of zombie eradication are transmitted.

An armed perimeter is established and work progresses fairly quickly. Some take the opportunity to use the latrine while others guard the convoy as best they can watching for zombies that get too interested in the noise.

While those of us designated as guards stand over our working comrades, I wonder about the girl who was taken by the gang. It may be too late for her, but I have to admire her devotion to her brother to walk into what she had to know is a trap attempting to get some food. Either that or she is (was?) fucking stupid. Some of those blonde jokes have a kernel of truth to them.

The HEMTTs and the snow plow pull and push vehicles out-of-the-way. Occasionally a too curious zombie wanders too close for comfort. Someone either kills it with a hatchet, shovel axe, or other large bladed weapon.

Discipline is pretty decent so no one shoots when they do not have to. I pulled my faithful Cold Steel shovel out to use as a zombie killer again. Nikola appreciated my choice of shovel and pulled out his official Spetsnaz shovel. This led Chen to pull his official Chinese PLO Army shovel out for comparison.

The three of us had a merry time smacking zombies in the head with our respective shovels and even traded shovels a few times to try them out for comparison. We found that a fighting shovel does not back splash the wielder as badly as either a hatchet or a machete when killing a zombie.

It takes about an hour or so to clear the roadway around the fruit market. No small number of vehicles contained zombies, they are left were they were since they were not a hazard. Handful or so zombies were dispatched while the roadway was cleared. It is nearly three in the morning by the time the gear is stowed, and the convoy gets ready to move again.

An impromptu meeting is held before the convoy starts to move. I am not sure who or what caused the meeting or how the attendees were selected, but somehow I ended up in the meeting.

In attendance both colonels, Sutton, Randy, Nikola, Shen, Nguen (who translates best he can for Shen), Carol, Rick, Gabe, Terrance the PJ, Shack and myself as well as Chris, the eldest BMX kid who also happens to be the one with the golden Desert Eagle pistol.

The main discussion revolved around whether or not to conduct an armed assault on the Rogues, the 1% bike gang that took Chris’s (the kid with the golden Desert Eagle) sister. Chris knows that the Rogues took over the FEMA camp in Pop Keeney, a nearby sports stadium.

The Rogues turned Pop Keeney stadium into an armed camp of some fashion, utilizing secure fencing and heavy barricades erected by FEMA. The Rogues seized several National Guard armored vehicles including a few Strykers, FEMA transportation vehicles, and several monstrous heavy civilian SUVs of which a couple may or may not be a “gangsta special” as the kid put it.

Using the people in the FEMA camp as their little fiefdom with a slave labor force, the Rogues looted, burnt and killed anything they felt necessary. Apparently no one and nothing was below the Rogues to burn, loot or kill.

Emptying several nearby gas stations, grocery stores, and pharmacies the Rogues have amassed a rumored gold mine of supplies. Of particular note to the colonels (other than the National Guard vehicles) was the information that the Rogues also seized several fuel tankers. The Rogues also emptied several train fuel cars from a local train yard.

Rumored to possess several thousand gallons of fuel, some of which are used to manufacture meth, the Rogues trade fuel, weapons, drugs, slaves (rumored), and anything else profitable. Not content with equitable trade, the Rogues kill people who come to trade, steal everything they have, and enslave the survivors.

The Rogues gang is much larger than it used to be acquiring members by coercion, taking over other gangs, and attracting new members who before the KCAP outbreak were probably good, law-abiding people. Of note is the rumored inclusion of several gang members from Crazy Riders, La Cienega, and Mara Salvatrucha. There are apparently no skin heads, but the current lineups of rumored gang members are unsavory enough.

The Rogues used to be a Kenmore based group of 1% bike gang members known meth dealers and arms runners in Kenmore prior to the KCAP outbreak. Now that society is WOL, the Rogues have risen to control the local area with no one capable of withstanding them.

Chris’s (and Jennifer’s, the missing sister) father was a Washington State Trooper, missing since the KCAP pandemic. His father was familiar with this gang and had several run ins with them moving product from eastern to western Washington and down from Canada.

I wonder what happened to Chris’s father. Is he a zombie wandering the highway somewhere, or is he truly dead and at peace. I hope the later. Chris does not mention her, but I wonder what happened to their mother. I keep my silence while I mentally ponder the possibilities.

The people caught in the FEMA camp are prisoners and little better than slaves. Chris thinks that the camp women and children are being held hostage to make the men docile and follow the Rogue’s demands. Rumors of floggings and public executions by hanging and beheading circulate the area.

Chris also thinks that the FEMA camp people are being used to manufacture drugs, most likely meth and that the combined gangs have significant supplies of cocaine, herb, crystal meth, heroin, LSD, amphetamine, and just about any other illicit and legal drug. Chris also believes that the women in the camp are being forced into prostitution which may be where Jennifer, his sister, is employed.

The Rogues control the food distribution, medicine, and anything else of worth in the area. Having seized all FEMA assets in the camp, and having either killed or coerced the surviving soldiers and FEMA personnel to join the gang (or die presumably), there is nothing to challenge the gang leader who rules supreme.

The Rogues are very well armed, having killed several National Guardsmen taking their weapons. The Rogues collected weapons and ammo from the nearby areas including at least one Walmart and Big 5 store.

Possessing all weapons seized by FEMA from the camp, the Rogues rule unchallenged over a herd of sheeple. The lad’s intelligence report is extremely slapdash and badly outdated with copious assumptions. When asked several tactical questions by the colonels, the lad shrugged his shoulders numerous times.

There is no guarantee that Chris’s sister Jennifer is still held by the gang or even still alive. Another unknown quantity is Jennifer’s mental state. If she has been held and abused this long, there are numerous scenarios, everything from Stockholm syndrome to complete mental break down that are possible.

Getting Jennifer back sounds like a dangerous and risky endeavor with little chance of a justifiable outcome. I hate to sound like a callous bitch, but the risk to the convoy may not be worth retrieving a young lady who may be damaged goods.

However, as the colonels point out, viable members of my gender are rare, especially ones that may be able to have children. Our little convoy, if an example of society, then in a few generations, humans may die out.

There is some heated discussion about liberating the whole fucking camp, doing a snatch and grab on the sister, or just ignoring the whole damn thing. The colonels would like to acquire the National Guard vehicles and weapons as well as the fuel. Jamal and Terrance, the two medicos, would like to possess the rumored medical supplies.

Finally, there was some discussion getting off the Burke-Gillman Trail and taking the Sammamish River trail instead. The main problem with leaving the Burke-Gillman trail is that we have to cross the Sammamish River, and the trail bridge might not handle the weight of the HEMMTs and snow plow.

So we decide to stay on SR-522 and the Burke-Gillman Trail for now. Since Chris’s intelligence is so outdated, and there are far, far too many unknown variables, it is decided that Sutton, Randy and Nikola will scout the stadium and report back. Terrance goes with them as medical just in case, and to make an even team number so the men can rotate.

The meeting breaks up as we decided that we need to stay far away from the reach of the gang in the stadium. Sutton, Randy, Terrance and Nikola, are going to sneak in to an observation point while it is dark and find somewhere they can observe the FEMA camp.

No deadline or time-table is established, but all three men will take radios, weapons and camouflage gear. All four men are experienced Special Forces operators, and might have the best possibility of ascertaining the tactical picture on the gang and stadium.

I am not sure where the SF men are going to establish their observation point (OP), but not only do they have to worry about the gang in the stadium FEMA camp but also zombies. The men will have to travel on foot through double hostile territory (zombies and gang), establish an OP, and then observe the camp well enough to formulate a tactical picture.

The convoy gets moving again and eventually enters the town of Woodinville. We decided not to take Main Street to Beardslee Boulevard at this time as was our original plan. We change our plans based on the expectant tactical report from the four SF guys.

I am not sure when the four SF guys leave, but as we turn a corner on the highway; I see that Carol is by herself in the cab of the truck. The convoy rolls down Woodinville Drive heading east until we reach 102nd Avenue North East. Turning right on to 102nd, we head south towards the Sammamish River.

Crossing the bridge over the Sammamish River, which is large enough to handle the weight of the snow plow and the HEMTTs, we can hear but not see the river below us. Thankfully the bridge is clear of all but one abandoned car which is easily avoided. The river in our NVGs is giant, angry black ribbon.

Our target tonight is a large forested and sandy area to the west of the bridge. The convoy will be camping in the open again today. However, the hope is that by crossing the river and heading away from a major urban area, the number of zombies will be greatly reduced.

The convoy parks just as the sky starts to turn a dark burnt orange to the east. While it is still dark enough so that the zombies are not active yet, the convoy sets up camp in the large forested area. I notice the lightning has stopped for now.

Just to the west of the forested area in which the convoy erects its shelters, is a large sandy dune area that quickly becomes the latrine. As the sun rises, the scouts run around the wooded area searching for zombies, aided by the kids on the BMX bikes.

Locating and quickly dispatching quietly the few zombies found in the area, the convoy for the most part settles in for the day. Jamal walks around with a large, bright yellow boxy Geiger counter for a while before returning it to his car.

While the convoy erects shelters and establishes camp, Gabe makes his final meal of quasi-Mexican food. The smells coming from his big taco truck are wonderful and make my stomach growl. Gabe has all the windows and louvers open on the truck and just faintly you can hear some kind of Latino music playing.

Soldiers drift by the wonderful smelling taco truck throughout the very early morning to be chased away by Gabe. Word spreads that there are not enough tortillas for everyone in the convoy to have one. Even quicker word spreads when the meal is ready. Shack walks to the taco truck and comes back carrying a rough wooden plank on which he has stacked our meal.

Some convoy personnel get a burrito while others get a paper plate and a plastic fork. I notice that supper tonight is more substantial, with the delivering soldiers (Shack in my case) having to give several items to each diner.

I am one of the fortunate ones that get a paper plate of food. Shack and I get a supper (or is it breakfast?) that is tasty and not too spicy. We get mystery stewed shredded meat of some creature swimming in a mildly spicy red sauce mixed with beans.

Accompanying our supper are two packets of MRE wheat snack bread, two packets of MRE squeeze cheese (one plain, one jalapeno), one packet of MRE plain crackers, a tiny MRE glass bottle of original Tabasco, and a yellow packet of peanut M&Ms for each of us.

About half way through our meal one of the kids on a BMX bicycle rides up carrying an O.D. green messenger bag. The kid hands Shack and I a warm six-pack of Miller High Life. While the child is dropping off our beer ration, I inquire about the children that were sick.

Jason, the young man delivering our beer, says that doc Jamal gave the sick kids something and that they seem to be a little better. I earlier saw Jamal walking around with a bottle of potassium iodide (KI), and I wonder if that is what he is giving the sick kids.

Shack and I lay our little camp out in the shelter erected between us and the tanker HEMTT again. Carol is in her usual spot behind Shack, and I also sheltered under the same tarp.

Laying my weapons in their usual spot while I sleep, I scoot inside my sleeping bag and get settled. Shack sits on his stool nearby and talks to me for a few minutes. We discuss for a while the likelihood of retrieving Chris’s sister Jennifer and the possibility of losing more convoy members.

After a while, I drift off to sleep.

14 Comments
  1. Greg Landgraf permalink

    Knew you were a swabby, but not a squid, till read some comments.

    Fire Control Petty Officer Second Class, USS Ray SSN 653.

    • I was both a sailor, served on a battle wagon, several destroyers, one carrier and one cruiser and then a soldier. After 17 years in the Navy, I went through the Blue to Green Program and joined the Infantry. Spent my last 5 years in the Army at JBLM before I retired.

    • Oh man, have you heard the audiobook of World War Z? It’s got Henry Rollins AND Mark Hamil on it and a bunch of other awmosee voice actors.It’s brilliant satire done through zombies. No wonder why Romero loves Brooks so much.

  2. tony permalink

    Thank you for your service to this country and for this great story

  3. Tony, you are welcome. Please keep reading and leaving comments.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Battle Wagon = battle ship? thats show your age allen

    • Yep, I am old.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Excellent chapter, thanks also for answering my invasive question about Ruth’s “state of the plate” Ha Ha! . I am amazed that she would go to that length to remain “smoooooth”… really cool, Bringing in the feral BMX kids is superp and they do seem to be ready to be brought into the fold, carefully, very carefully. Sorry for the sis that sacrificed herself but she might have wanted to go that route knowing there were a limited amount of vending machines, even kids need a real meal, donuts and cheese crackers are not viable foodstuffs, who knows why she left other than her excuse to trade, she is probably the lead1% er asswipes “Mama” by now, if she was not so naive. What power the position of the head thugs lady would bring, she may not be worth a rescue but the fuel, weapons and meds could be worth the risk.
    I am thinking that if the convoy is to deal with a group of 1% ers, then they are usually stoned to the max most of the time and rely on others too do the dirty work. The problem is, they have grabbed some of the military trained personell who have order, and training which may help to fulfill the needs of the 1% group.
    With the convoy coming soon, I would hope the captured soldiers will see the military prescence within the group and fall back to join the convoy. Keep up the good story, it is kicking ass. MM

    • The next two chapters deal with the 1%ers and the convoy response. Thanks for the comments MM, please keep reading. Ruth’s reasoning for going bare is in line with her Arab heritage. A taboo subject to discuss with men (especially non-Muslims), a lot of Arab women either compeltey pluck themselves, shave daily a portion of their body, or have themselves medically depilitated. For some reason Northern African Arab women are more likely to not shave anything, while their Saudi, Lebanese, UAE, Omani, and Jordanian (those I am most familiar with) sisters opt to go bare.

  6. Another excellent addition. Thanks for using my recommendations about the zombie pranks by the feral BMX kids. I look forward to more, soon!

    • Jake, I liked your ideas regarding the BMX kids. When my readers make suggestions that I like, I will add them to the story. Helps me add elements to the story that I might not have thought of and gives me new ideas to generate story lines. Using reader suggestions also helps me write scenarios and subjects in a broader field which I hope will improve my writing. Thanks for continuing to read.

  7. Guido permalink

    Glad to get more Ruth! I was having withdrawal! Thanks for putting your time into writing it, am and enjoying the story.

    I foresee some 1% Bikers getting a beatdown in the next few chapters!

  8. Friar Tuck permalink

    I am really getting excited about the next two chapters. I can hardly wait!

    • The first of those two chapters got stretched into two, so actually it is going to be three chapters now. The firs chapter will be posted in a while this morning (PDST).

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