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Zombie Apocalypse Fiction – Ruth’s Story #77 Camped beside SR-9, even more random thoughts, and meeting the Johansen family SHTF and TEOTWAWKI

March 31, 2013

Sitting at the table in the command and mess tent surrounded by the extended Johansen family, I listen to the conversations going on around me. I get the sense that this family fervently hopes to join the convoy. The colonels at least appear to be considering allowing the family to stay. Adding the Johansen family to the convoy does add significantly to the number of children in our company, a rare commodity today.

We have, technically, decided to refer to ourselves as a company rather than a convoy, but I still think of it as more of a convoy of motley vehicles. Company does sound better and is more in alignment with the pseudo-military way that the colonels are running this rolling buffet.

The Johansen family offers the possible location of supplies and fuel as their buy in to the company. Previously, they did some significant urban exploration (urbex) around their neighborhood. The family describes how earlier in their explorations they located a couple of abandoned railroad trains; one Amtrak passenger train, the other a freight train.

The freight train did not yield anything of value other than a pair of weak Chinese rip off Maglights with near-dead D batteries, a few slightly used alkaline AA batteries and a general purpose first aid kit in a large green tin with a hinged lid. The first aid kit is marked “Property of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail Road.” Nothing spectacular is in the BNSF first aid box, but it is a good thing to have around just in case of a zombie apocalypse.

The BNSF first aid kit contains many of the usual generic lime-green adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes. Under the bandages are several white gauze eye pads with four rolls of off-white surgical tape. Beside the eye pads and surgical tape lay 10 sealed clear plastic bottles of saline rinse. At the bottom of the kit are several vacuum sealed OD green military style large triangular bandages common in such government mandated general purpose first aid kits.

I note that the triangular bandages are the older variety without the included safety pins. Damn, in improvised field medicine the safety pins come in handy. I have a feeling that several of those ugly green triangular bandages are going to be used for bathroom tissue. We ran out of TP weeks ago and have been boiling rags. Boiling soiled rags imparts a certain odor to our camp.

The generic adhesive bandages are of the variety that are typically either too small or too large to cover your injury commonly found in such government mandated general purpose first aid kits.

Found in one of the freight train engine’s operating station was a small one-handed fireman’s hatchet with a bright yellow fiberglass handle. From the state of the bloodied hatchet, with chunks of coagulated I do not want to know what stuck to it, I assume that it has seen frequent use. I have had enough dispatching zombies with a damn axe. I would much rather kill zombies with something longer so that I do not have to get so fucking close.

Looted by survivors earlier, the passenger train revealed little of worth. It sounds as if several locked cars were heavily infested with zombies. Found underneath one of the passenger seats in an empty and open car were three, 10 ounce, plastic twist top, green glass bottles of non-carbonated Lane’s Honey and Lemon Health Drink. The three bottles were in a small red and white plastic Igloo cooler. Other than someone’s dropped medicine bottle containing 43, 20mg capsules of Prozac, the passenger train was a bust for anything else of worth.

An intriguing note though was that both trains appeared to be carrying a significant amount of fuel in the engine’s tanks. The Johansen family is offering the location of the trains, and the location of a small dairy farm that also might have a large supply of red dyed agricultural diesel in an underground tank.

Unless the Johansen family is holding out on us, and I would not blame them if they were, the offer of the location of more fuel is extremely tantalizing. To sweeten the deal, the family also mentions that they might know the location of some gasoline. Exchanging fuel for letting the Johansen family join our company is not a terrible trade in my opinion. I would accept them, but that decision has to come from Sam.

Shack leaves and returns quickly to our table carrying two steaming Styrofoam cups of tea, both of which smell like a fresh Christmas tree. Seeing my quizzical expression, Shack explains that Doc has had the cooks making gallons of hot spruce tip tea. Spruce tips have vitamin C and a little bit of sugar to help ward off scurvy and give everyone a little more energy. I think that it is rather awful, and Shack chuckles at the awful face I make. Doctor’s orders are for everyone to drink at least 16 ounces of the horrid stuff.

I grimace and choke down the awful tea, missing my magnificent collection of exquisite Chinese teas all that more. Shack departs, with our cups to refill them. I so cannot wait for his return so that I may suck down more hot pine tree tea. It was only a few days ago that I was whining about the awful black pekoe tea, now that seems like a dream compared to this pine tea shit. Grumbling to myself quietly, I listen to the conversations still occurring around me for a while.

The older wife, Marie appears to be in charge. For the most part, the younger wife Jean, and Bill the husband, following her lead. Jean appears to be mainly concerned with the children and follows whatever Marie and Bill decide.

After exhausting the food supply in her Everett home, Jean drove with her children and a few of their things to Marie’s house in Lake Stevens. Bill had been in the Marines in his youth serving one tour. He had dabbled a little in prepping, going so far as to buy body armor and weapons for his family but nothing else. The more I listen to their story, the more I piece together.

The women are actually the first ex-wife (Marie) and the second wife (Jean) of Bill. When KCAP struck, the two women put aside their differences and combined households. Not sure what caused the divorce, but it appears that the two women have put it behind them for a common cause – their survival and that of their children. Not sure what else is up with the family but they do not set off any of my alarms, so I guess that they are ok for now.

The combined family, who it turns out are not Mormon, was getting along well enough until supplies in Marie’s house ran out. The firearms were locked in the basement of Jean’s house in a large, good quality safe that only Bill had the combination for. As far as they know, the safe and its contents are probably still there. The women were reduced to using Bill’s golf clubs and the kid’s softball bats to fend off zombies and looters.

Golf clubs are a poor choice of weapon. A thick, heavy wooden softball bat is a decent zombie killer. Golf clubs tend not to do extremely well against zombies as the shafts tend to either shatter or bend. After exhausting Bill’s collection of highly expensive golf clubs, the family was forced to leave Marie’s house seeking food, weapons and ammo.

Their obscure rural neighborhood in Lake Stevens was never checked by the National Guard. The combined family had watched most of their neighbors pack their belongings in their vehicles and drive off. Looting started almost immediately afterwards. KCAP ripped through their expansive neighborhood so fast that the few people who did become zombies were either easily avoided or killed. Small, obscure rural areas were quickly emptied of people.

For a while, the Johansen family survived by raiding their neighbor’s abandoned homes. After emptying the homes closest to their house, the family decided they needed to find a new location. The family had enough recumbent bikes for adults, but they had to scavenge to find enough bicycles for all of the children.

From what I overhear of the discussion, it does not sound as if the Johansen family had planned on using their recumbent bikes as a survival tool. The recumbent bikes were a good idea, but the family did not count on the cold and the weight of supplies. Canned goods are exceedingly heavy and bulky. The recumbent bikes can only carry so much weight and are not good for hauling freight.

The family had been traveling for a while, moving from one neighbor’s house to another. After a bad encounter with another group of survivors, who tried to steal their food and weapons, the family decided they needed to find another larger and better armed group of survivors to join.

The family mentions that some of the  other survivor groups, other than cannibals, are not interested in taking in new members. Most of the survivor groups will not accept men, preferring to kill them outright. Women and young girls might be accepted for one of three reasons. Fuck, eat (literally, not a euphemism for oral sex) or trade. Pretty women and young girls are exceptionally desired and are either to fuck or to keep as a trade item.

After a particularly harrowing escape from a cannibal enclave underneath what is left of the eastern Highway Two trestles, the Johansen family found themselves in company with several other surviving stragglers for short periods of time. The Johansens mention that most survivors either headed south or north as quickly as they could travel. The family learned quickly that small groups of survivors and loners did not have a damned good chance of survival.

The Johansen family witnessed several lone survivors and even small groups of survivors wiped out by the packs of zombies, cannibals and even other survivors. The cannibals are rare, with just a few camps that the Johansen family knows of. The hordes of zombies passed through a while ago. Likewise, most of the survivors have already passed through the area and might have missed some lucrative areas that only locals would know about.

The obscure rural areas are mostly free of zombies but are also completely devoid of anything to eat. The lack of people in the rural area meant a distinct lack of zombies, so the family found themselves eventually back in their old neighborhood. The family feared getting eaten or killed more than starving to death. Exploring the outskirts of their old neighborhood for homes that had not already been looted, the family ran into Bill who was frantically searching for his family.

Bill was drafted back into the Marines when the draft was enacted a few months ago. Hard to believe it has been almost six months now since KCAP exploded. Bill was at Twenty-nine Palms when it was overrun by zombies. Fleeing north, it took him a while to reach his family.

I briefly listen to Bill describe his harrowing travel north through heavily zombie and cannibal infested southern California. Bill confirms the use of several neutron bombs in California. The bombs were dropped on the city of Sacramento. The greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas were the victim of several neutron bombs. Most everything is dead within the bomb’s area of effect, even the damned pigeons and seagulls.

From the brief summary given by Bill it sounds as if his long walk from northern California to northern Washington State was fraught with danger and hardship. He lost the smallest finger on his left hand somehow. Bill also lost most of the gear which he took with him when he left the Marine base. Some of the gear he lost when he lost his Humvee and had to proceed on foot. Some of the other gear he lost to bandits. Finding his family while he was walking through their old neighborhood was lucky indeed.

Bill took several weapons from the Marine base with him and those he managed to keep somehow. His family is carrying true M4s, not civilian AR15 clones. Each rifle has an AN/PVQ-31 Rifle Combat Optic (RCO), better known as a Trijicon ACOG, mounted to the top Picatinny rail. Each rifle also carries an AN/PEQ-2 TPIAL mounted horizontally on top of the forward handguard just behind the gas block. Each adult family member also carries a Glock 17 in a shoulder holster on the front of their coyote tan plate carrier.

After a brief happy reunion, the combined Johansen family decided that they wanted to head north. Bill had been hearing tales of survivors in the Great White North of the Canadian Northwest Territories before he left the Marine base. His wives had heard from other friendly survivors heading north about the supposed safety offered by the cold, extreme northern latitudes. The idea of a community of survivors gave the family hope. The family knew, however that they were not going to be able to get there on their bicycles.

The Johansen family was camped to the side of the road in the woods and watched our company roll past. The family then observed us for a while in order to ascertain if it would be safe to approach. They were understandably cautious, having watched other small groups of survivors in similar situations annihilated, their supplies and weapons stolen, and the women raped, eaten, or enslaved not necessarily in that order.

Sam is intrigued by the suggestion that the Johansen family’s desire to backtrack south. The Johansen family claims that KCAP spread so fast in their remote Lake Stevens area that the Sports Authority, Safeway, Bartell Drugs and Target stores are largely untouched. Bill knows where some gasoline and diesel might be found because he worked in the office of one of the largest bulk fuel transportation companies in western Washington State.

Bill worked as a bulk fuel truck driver at first working his way up the company ladder. Bill mentions that most people would skip the bulk fuel station as they look as if they are already looted. Bill believes that there still might be some fuel still in the large bulk tanks.

Bill says that most of the fuel pumps are burnt and not working or damaged by ignorant fools. Bill knows how to properly work our fuel tanker HEMTTs which would be a bonus. None of our lads quite know exactly how to work the fuel tanker HEMTT’s equipment. The lads have been doing it by guess and by golly. Someone actually trained that knows what the fuck they are doing would be comforting.

Bill’s MOS in the Corps was 88M (truck driver), 3531 (motor vehicle operator) and 3534 (semitrailer refueler operator). He does not wear his sergeant’s stripes anymore, despite still wearing his MARPAT combat uniform. I suppose if Bill and his family are accepted in to the convoy, Sam will reinstate him.

While the boys and the prospective new members talk shop, my mind wanders, and I half listen to their conversation. Shack was telling me earlier about today’s radio traffic, and I mull over what he told me. Shack mentioned the weekly VP’s broadcast. Other than the medical and science knowledge, the rest of the VP’s broadcast was pure propaganda bullshit.

Recalling propaganda makes me think about China taking over Australia the year before the KCAP pandemic. China’s actions was a hot topic and something that kept the intelligence community busy for many, many hours. Most intelligence analysts felt that China invaded Australia to seize its vast open land and rich mineral wealth. The disarmament of the Australian people by their government provided a disarmed populace with which the Chinese troops subjugated somewhat easily. Since the Australian population was for the most part disarmed there, was little armed resistance.

No Wolverine guerillas among the Aussies. Some of the Aussies were smart enough though to keep their weapons despite the laws. Regrettably the brave folks that kept their weapons were far too few to have any real effect upon China’s invasion and occupation force.

In the intelligence community there were many force projection discussions and predicitions because of China possessing its first nuclear super aircraft carrier. The formerly Soviet bird farm was stuck for more than 20 years in the shipyards. When the Soviet Union fell apart, the Chinese bought the incomplete nuclear carrier, but lacked large enough shipyards for the vessel. The creative Chinese shipbuilders cut the Soviet carrier in half and then reassembled it when done.

Many felt that because of the debt that China held for the Western world, most notably the US and the Eurozone, that no Western nation would attack China. There were many who felt that China would probably get away with seizing Australia as the Western world would not risk losing its number one lender and trade partner, treaty with Australia or not.

The zombie apocalypse made China’s invasion of Australia a moot point. I never did hear the Vice President mention anything about Australia anyway. The smaller island nations got wiped out by the KCAP virus within a week or so. I hope there are some Aussies hiding in the bush somewhere surviving as we are trying to do.

I suddenly realize the conversation has gone quiet around me and that everyone is staring at me. I suddenly feel put on the spot.

Looking around the table I get the distinct impression that I have been asked a question and totally missed it. Sam has the raised eyebrow appearance of a disapproving father catching his naughty child daydreaming during a stern lecture. I feel as if I am about to be sent to the school principal’s office or made to stand in the corner wearing a ridiculous pointy hat.

“I am sorry I completely missed the question,” I mutter.

“I asked, Ruth,” Sam says. “If you thought we should backtrack the whole convoy or just part of the convoy to get the supplies and fuel.”

“I think we should send the Scouts on motorcycles to check before we decide anything so drastic.”

Seemingly content with my answer, the group goes back to talking around me, so I pick up my cold forgotten cup of shitty pine tree tea and gulp it down. I listen for a few more minutes as it is decided that we are going to stay in this camp site for at least another day.

Scouts are to be dispatched tomorrow morning with Bill. The Scouts are going to be using nearly the last of the gasoline to verify his claims. I hope for his sake that Bill is not full of shit and is not attempting to lead our Scouts into an ambush. Sam considered the ambush possibility; I hope he took steps to prevent an ambush. Longfeather quietly invites Bill to witness how the Apache treat traitors should he be full of shit.

Shack gets up to get us some more shitty pine tree tea, and I lose interest in the conversation again. My mind starts to wander. I begin to contemplate facts from some of the earlier VP’s weekly broadcasts. I do not remember if the VP’s broadcasts ever mentioning if a “Typhoid Mary” was ever found.

As far as I know no person has or ever will be immune to the KCAP virus. One of the more interesting facts announced by that week’s VP broadcast is that the KCAP virus was found to be teratogenic. We did not really think much of what that meant for the pregnant women of the convoy until much later, when Sarah delivered the first of her twins. But that is a story for another time.

One of the most perplexing facts about the KCAP virus is how it can act so differently depending on how the virus enters the body. If you are bitten by a KCAP zombie, you will quickly die and become a zombie within approximately two to three days. However, if you eat KCAP infected flesh, you get to become a blood thirsty ghoul with some surprising physical abilities. There was never a definitive amount of time established that needed to pass in order for a KCAP cannibal to die and become a zombie.

It was assumed that the KCAP virus reached critical mass within the cannibal which eventually killed it. As I mentioned before, cannibal zombies are exceedingly rare.

After my third Styrofoam cup of God awful pine tree tea, the meeting breaks up, and personnel scatter to accomplish their tasking or to go to bed.

After tucking Shack into our bed roll and chastely kissing him good night, I spend the night sitting in the radio tent with Nikola listening to hissing HF static. There are hardly any broadcasts on the airtonight. We did hear some very faint transmissions that we could barely make out that sounded like “ontosh” or something but neither one of us figured it out. Even the Vice President’s narrator seems muted extremely early this morning.

The camp goes about its business, with nothing too noteworthy occurring.

That morning in the mess tent, it is announced that the Princess is pregnant. She and Rick are now a couple. Not that the news surprises anyone, any blind halfwit could have told you that. So that brings the total of pregnant women in the company to three. Sarah will be the first to deliver in about five months, with Carol about three or four months later and the Princess due in about six to seven months.

After eating breakfast, Shack and I walk back to the tent holding hands.

Just before I crawl into my bedroll warmed by Shack who just got out of it, the Scouts are dispatched with a heavily armed escort. The Quad 50 and the 20 mike mike are both set up in a defensive perimeter as well as the mortar and the mobile gun Stryker (MGS). Our surviving Stryker pair eats a frightening amount of fuel and are extremely picky about fuel quality. Sam hates to abandon them, but we may not have a choice.

The  MGS Stryker is loaded with canister, HEAT, and Anti-Personnel Tracer (APERS-T) rounds. A few days ago, I talked for a while with some of the gun Stryker lads. They mentioned that they only have four of the canister rounds which is a crying shame. The canister rounds found considerable favor with tank crews for making fucking ginormous cavities in the hordes of zombies.

Regrettably, the US military did not see fit to procure too many of the 105mm canister rounds from the manufacturer probably because of cost and perceived political fallout. The US military, in particularly, the Army and Marine Corps, did not load out its armored gun vehicles with more than two canister rounds. The crews had to procure more of the canister rounds, by any creative method that they could use. Regrettably the Russians did not bring any canister shells with them.

Even if the Russians had brought some canister shells, Nikola informs them of something that I had forgotten. The T-90 has a 125mm gun compared to the M1’s 120mm.

Despite being slightly smaller than the 120mm version, the M1040 105mm canister round should be nearly as effective as its larger cousin. Only containing approximately 2,080 tungsten balls, the 105mm canister round has an effective range of about 500 meters.

I have not yet seen an APERS-T round used upon zombies, so I cannot attest to its effectiveness. However, I did witness several M1 Abrams tanks using 120mm canister rounds to delightful effect upon massed hordes of zombies. There are few things that will puree at once a wide swath of zombies like a canister round will.

Thankfully, the zombies are not intelligent enough to avoid the muzzle of a cannon. The tanks were mostly able to drive right through the zombie hordes making a horrid mushy soup in the streets. Even abandoned cars did not slow the tanks down as they just rolled over them. Watching a US Marine Corps M1A2 Abrams shoot a canister round with zombies less than a foot from the muzzle was an image I will never forget.

When the tank fired, the closest zombies instantly disappeared into a flaming, bloody red mist. The two things that finally stopped the tanks were a lack of fuel and ammo. Once the tanks ran out of fuel and ammo, the crews could only remain buttoned up inside so long before they had to abandon their vehicle. Once on foot, the poor bastard tank crews were as susceptible as the rest of us.

Our mortar M1129 Stryker is loaded with high explosive and illumination rounds. The HE rounds are fuzed for either proximity or near surface burst. The mortar crew has some version of a sub-calibre insert which allows the larger 120mm mortar to fire the older 81mm mortar rounds. The older 81mm mortar rounds are not as accurate, but they have more of them.

In 81mm mortar rounds, which the lads tell me they will use first, saving the much better 120mm rounds for later, there are white phosphorus, HE, and illumination. The HE rounds come in light, medium and heavy versions. The lads will shoot the light 81mm HE rounds first because they have the farthest range, 5,180 yards.

When I was walking towards the tent with Shack, I noted the guards on the perimeter of our camp. With the chain link fencing erected and a somewhat hastily hollowed out trench around the outside perimeter, we hope to be able to withstand all but the largest zombie horde.

Quite a few M14 “toe popper” AP mines were placed around the perimeter of the trench. The M14 AP mine has not been in active service for many years. I wonder where the boys picked some up. The few Russian soldiers under Nikola’s direction placed several PMN-2 AP mines and several Russian clones of the VS-MK2 AP mine as well around the perimeter. Concertina wire and other tangle foot traps were also placed around the perimeter.

The lads carefully marked where the AP mines were so that a living person would be able to read the warning and avoid the mines. The clear marking should make retrieval easier as well. Bill and his family said that most of the zombies within this area were attracted south towards the gunfire and roaring flames of Everett. There are still a few zombies around, I am sure of it, because not all of the zombies could have possibly made it to Everett.

Our camp maintains noise and light discipline, but there is only so much that a company this size can do. You cannot truly hide a convoy this size which was one of Iain’s more salient points. It was also the main reason he did not want to remain with the convoy. He felt that the company would attract too much attention. I think Iain would have been a welcome addition to the convoy.

Despite looking like a cross between Paul Bunyan, Dirty Harry and a fucking freak of a Medieval Crusader, Iain was one hell of a fighter obviously possessed of a cool demeanor. Suddenly a pair of humongous, furry Wookie-like paws envelope both of my shoulders. I scream and nearly leap out of my chair.

Thankfully, the cold cup in my lap is empty; otherwise I would have spilled it all over my lap and maybe the keyboard. Not sure if Iain has many spare parts for the computers in the Bunker, but as working computers are exceedingly rare now, I do not want to destroy any part. Iain glances at the monitor momentarily, and at the black and white text displayed.

“Crusader and lumber jack I get, and are apt, but Dirty Harry?” Iain’s polar ice blue eyes look down at me upside down. “I don’t look anything like Clint Eastwood, although I understand he was a tall man as well.”

“It is that big fucking blue Model 29 you carry under your left arm when we are in the field. You do realize that less than three percent of the US population was a tall as you.”

“Oh, yes, well I bought that pistol before Eastwood’s movie made it popular. A small, wiry man with a cigar, wearing a gigantic 10 gallon hat from Salmon, Idaho convinced me to try the round. I’ve liked it ever since. By the way, supper is ready. I guess you didn’t hear me shouting for you from the kitchen.”

Iain leaves the office and I watch him disappear. I stand and stretch my arms and legs. I pick my coffee cup up off the floor and glance into it. Looking into my cold empty coffee cup brings back pleasant memories of sipping tea with Shack. I miss that boy terribly!

I can faintly hear Rachel and Iain talking in the dining room. Iain has promised me that he will try to locate some tea the next time we leave the Bunker. I hate coffee, but I crave caffeine more. I scoot the chair underneath the office table and shut the computer down.

Shutting off the desk lamp plunges the small room into tomb-like darkness lit only by the aquaponic tanks along the walls. With the computer off, the gentle burble of the water circulating through the grow beds can be heard. Thankfully Iain’s Bunker has a nice genset to keep all the pumps and grow lights lit as well as running the ventilation fans. I look over at the fish swimming in the tank, and hope that we are not eating either tilapia or rabbit again tonight.

The grow beds are an excellent idea because they do provide us with fresh greens without having to go outside. I am not overly fond of fish but now is not the time to be culinary picky. Iain is the only person I have ever met who grows his own ginger, ginseng, horseradish, and golden seal. Iain says that the ancient Chinese mariners never suffered from scurvy because every good Chinese junk had a small garden in which they grew ginseng.

Iain is a master at making sure that we get enough vitamins for our health. We do go outside occasionally to get some sun and check the state of affairs. Iain’s huge cattle ranching property is very remote and isolated in southeastern Oregon. Occasionally, we do get trespassers and poachers after one of Iain’s livestock. The thieves are usually after the black Angus cattle but the free ranging goats, sheep and pigs have also been targeted.

I hear an irritated Iain shout for me to come to supper again. Looking down at the cluttered table and the scattered scraps of my Journal notes, I reminisce briefly back to those early days with Shack. More than a year has passed since I was with the convoy. It does not really seem that long ago. It is said that time flies when you are having fun, but there is nothing fun about surviving a zombie apocalypse.

I turn off the small lamp over the table and leave the office, and the past to go join Rachel and Iain for supper. Tomorrow, I will work some more on my Journal. I think that, for tonight, I am going to watch an old movie, eat some popcorn, and take a hot shower. Maybe we will light a fire in the stove and cuddle up in a blanket. I will try not to think of the past for a while tonight. Supper smells fantastic, and I realize that I am frightfully hungry.

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14 Comments
  1. Tim permalink

    Thanks! Chapter 77 is very interesting. A little peak into the future.

    • You are welcome TIm. I have been experimenting with flash backs and changing the narrative a little. If you have some suggestions, or criticisms I would appreciate hearing them.

      • Anonymous permalink

        The beauty of the story ..

  2. christina permalink

    The beauty of the story ..

  3. Anonymous permalink

    When do you think we will hear more about Ruth & Co.? I understand that life happens, but I am really itching for an update. Please update as you feel you can.
    Thanks for a cool story.

  4. Tony permalink

    When do you think that we will hear more about Ruth & Co.? I understand that life happens, but I am itching for an update. Please post more as you feel able.
    Thanks for a cool story.

    • As it happens I have been working sporadically. I also have recently had surgery and a brief hospital stay. I made good use of my down time to write some more on Ruth & Co. I have gone through some edits and changes to the next chapter and one major rewrite because my pre-reader (wife) made a very good suggestion. I am trying to keep the same tone and flavor of the story so only post when I am satisfied with the material. I know this makes long stretches between posts and breaks the cardinal rule of posting frequently to keep readership high. I am not worried too much about readership levels, I am looking to write quality different zombie apocalypse fiction than what is currently out there.

  5. Just checking in, I hope ths lapse of time indicates that you have found employment to your liking, i truly do. As the others are asking, I would love to see an update but if you need to put your energy elsewhere , I am cool with that. The amount of text that you put into each story update is amazing to say the least, I know it takes alot of your time to do what you do to keep “Ruth’s Tale” alive. You are a fine author of a GREAT story, others I have read seem to drift off into places that a really excellent Zombie apocalypse story such as yours, does not go. You stay on track and keep it REAL!!!! That is why I check every day for the next chapter. Thanks for keeping it real and not going off into things (scenarios) That take the feeling,smell and taste away from the tale of RUTH, she battled her way from SEATAC to where you have her at #77. Thank you for fine writing that is genuine and keeps us looking forward to your next fine piece. M.M.

    • Actually I have found on call employment with my last employer. I wish it was more steady. I have also had a brief stint in the hospital and minor surgery. I used the time in the hospital to write some more Ruth, and flesh out some of the back story some more. I am editing the next post and am in the midst of a minor rewrite as some changes are made. Not sure when I will get the next chapter up but I hope soon. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  6. S. Lane permalink

    Great story Allen, hope you are doing well & waiting for the next great chapter………….6/13/13

    S. L.

  7. Anonymous permalink

    Me too, boss man. Missing your story line and talents that accompany it. I am really excited about the move from Convoy to underground bunker with Lain, can’t wait. Be well MM

    • Thanks for the kinds words. I would have had the next chapter up but suffered a HDD crash. Why is it that IT folks are the worst at backing up files? I am rebuilding the next few chapters but decided to take the story a different direction than originally written. I had some inspiration and my chief proofreader and fact checker (wife) suggested some changes that made more sense than the drivel I had written. I look at this as an opportunity to rewrite the next post and change the direction that I was originally heading. Nothing major as far as the story’s characters. I am not suddenly killing anyone or changing relationships. I did however, change some of the character’s action and decided upon a different outcome for the second day of looting in the Lake Stevens area. Barring more computer trouble, I should have the next chapter up soon unless inspiration strikes me again, and my last 24 pages of text gets deleted again.

  8. Keep up the awesome work! I love reading your stories. Wishing you good health too!

    • Thank you for the encouragement. Working on the next chapter and I hope to have it posted soon.

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