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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #91 Day 1 on the farm, aftermath of Scarecrow vs. Shack fight SHTF TEOTWAWKI

January 4, 2014

I notice that Terrance gave Scarecrow a few tablets of Lorcet and Xanax. I know that the convoy has several M-3, M-4, and M-5 Special Forces medical bags. We scavenged every found pill bottle. I am not sure how many of the irreplaceable drugs the convoy possesses. I also wonder if Scarecrow is worth the expense of a few very rare drugs.

I feel very little sympathy for Scarecrow. Scarecrow passes me leaning upon the plain black woman’s shoulder with nary a glance. Ben-zonah! Did Shack beat the man so badly that he will not even glance at me now?

Watching the odd pair leave the medical tent, I wonder if they will ever become productive members of the convoy. We have not yet had to deal with parasites that fail to earn their keep. How the convoy deals with a parasite remains to be seen.

Most of the worthless baggage we have been fortunate to lose either by their own hand, their stupidity, or because they made themselves so obnoxious that someone shot them. God help us if we encounter someone such as a rabbi, scholar, good vibe guy or other traditionally non-blue collar laborer who expects to be fed, but not have to work.

I walk the short distance across the medical tent to see how Sarah and the twins are doing. Gennady the protective proud father holds Thing 1 while Sarah feeds Thing 2 again. Seeing the little guys I am struck, again, by their dissimilarity. Gennady holding Thing 1 feeds him with a round clear glass one gallon jar.

Thing 1 does not seem to mind that the red silicone nipple on the one gallon glass jar is designed for feeding calves. I watch the little monster’s flailing hands and feet underneath the swaddling while he lustily feeds. I am glad to see that his parents have tried to restrain the little guy’s flailing as best as they can.

While Thing 2 is your typical three-day old baby with a comfortably chubby body, Thing 1 is anything but atypical. At three days, old Thing 1 has almost no body fat at all. His legs and arms are already developing muscle. Thing 1’s biceps already bulge with muscle. Thing 1’s flat stomach already has a washboard six-pack.

The little cannibal, like the rest of his kind, is effected with a severe myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy that does not allow any body fat to accumulate. The cannibals are unable to store body fat which can be hazardous for toddlers as the body needs some calories in reserve.

Lacking a caloric reserve, the body of a very lean developing baby will sometimes restrict calories to the brain and spinal cord. A child who does not receive enough calories, their body prioritizes the needs of vital organs overgrowth. Restricting calories in a critical period of development can cause brain damage.

The circumference of a healthy brain is almost twice as large as a malnourished one. Both children are going to need folic acid, iron, zinc and Vitamin A to develop properly. Malnutrition can lead to a weakened immune system and illness. Malnutrition and disease are tightly intertwined.

Brain cells from a healthy child look similar to a tree in bloom. Brain cells from a malnourished infant look similar to a tree in winter. The branches are the synapses, which connect one brain cell to another. The brain cells of a malnourished child are less able to communicate with each other.

We learned from the poor bastard of a pediatrician buried under Ft. Detrick that it is the first 1,000 days of life, roughly through the age of two, that are the most critical. Even if the child gets more food later in life, the damage cannot be reversed.

Sarah was already borderline anemic, but Terrance says that during postpartum she is suffering iron deficiency anemia. Her symptoms of pallor, fatigue, light-headedness, and weakness have gotten worse since delivering her twins. The survival of both the mother and the twins is important to the convoy for many reasons.

Since Thing 1’s birth, our little radio shack has been bombarded with inquiries from the surviving scientists as well as from the curious idiots who happen to possess a working radio. Most of the radio chatter is worthless gossip, but there are a few kernels of precious knowledge to be gleaned from the inane chatter.

Due to the high demands that Thing 1’s development put upon his mother’s body, both the baby and his mother is suffering severe iron deficiency. The cannibal’s black thickened and hardened nails require a significant amount of iron. All of the cannibals also possess unusually dense and thick bones, further escalating their need for iron.

I wonder if part of the cannibal’s desire for meat comes from the craving for iron in their diet. Lacking proper nutrition the cannibals are forced to consume whatever they can. Or rather whomever they can consume. I wonder if all cannibal mothers are deficient in iron just as Sarah is.

Prenatal vitamins probably helped significantly. It was not until late in Sarah’s pregnancy towards the end of her second trimester that Sarah started taking the prenatal vitamins. Carol and the Princess are fortunate to have been with the convoy with constant access to prenatal vitamins when they became pregnant.

Thing 2 does not seem to care particularly for baby formula, but Thing 1 guzzles it down like he does almost anything else. The only two fluids so far that Sarah has found that Thing 1 will not drink are powdered milk and UHT. Shack and I cannot blame the little tyke for refusing to drink either powdered milk or UHT as both tastes like shit.

The resourceful Gennady even scored some Pedialyte should the little tykes need it. So far the twins are doing fine, but there is a general worry about Thing 1’s survival. There is so much we do not know about the life cycle of a KCAP cannibal that it worries us.

We know that the little cannibal is going to require more food than his younger brother. We also know that due to the composition of his nails and bones Thing 1 requires more iron and calcium. What we do not know is how much calcium and iron to give the little monster.

The hyper dense skeletons of the cannibals provide greater purchase area for the muscles and increased skeletal strength. With thicker denser bones, the cannibal’s increased muscle mass can exert greater force upon the bones without breakage. Stronger and denser bones also mean that the cannibals survive injuries that might otherwise kill a normal person.

With thicker skulls protecting their brains from injury, thicker ribs protecting their vital organs the cannibals can be damned hard to kill. Able to shrug off many injuries that would remove a normal person from a fight, the cannibals have a staggering ability to withstand physical injury.

We learned a few days ago from the poor bastards trapped under the radiation wasteland that was once Atlanta, Georgia that KCAP cannibals exhibited abnormally low levels of lactic acid in their muscles. After any strenuous activity, a KCAP cannibal’s muscles produce about a quarter as much lactic acid as an average person’s muscles will.

This reduction in the production of lactic acid allows the cannibal to recover from fatigue much quicker than the average person. Low lactic acid production, larger hearts, increased lung capacity with higher maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max – the amount of oxygen the body can use, per kilogram of body weight, per minute), increased muscle mass, and hyper dense bones – cannibals are tough opponents.

Their hardened finger nails often sharpened and shaped provides the cannibal with a better weapon than the typically blunt and useless human finger nails. While still not as good as say a cat’s claws, the cannibal’s sharpened fingernails driven by their increased strength can be dangerous. The unknown factor is the teeth.

Most KCAP cannibals have become infected in adulthood. Few observed cannibals were juveniles, and so far only our little monster is the only known KCAP cannibal baby. There have been reports of other pregnant KCAP cannibals, so we are fairly certain that there are other KCAP cannibal babies out there.

Many wonder if because Thing 1 was infected so early in life that his teeth might develop in the same manner as his finger and toe nails. Will Thing 1’s teeth be black and hardened like his nails – no one knows for sure, but there is plenty of conjecture.

Thing 1 is the only cannibal baby under observation. We get pestered nearly hourly for updates on his progress. It is as if the radio callers expect the little guy to suddenly mutate or something. Other than his pallor, the lack of any body hair, his black finger and toe nails, and his exceptionally muscled physique you would not know that the child was infected with KCAP.

Other than his physical aspects and his constant hunger, our little monster, is in all respects a normal baby. When his tummy is full and he is content (which does not last long I am told) Gennady can get the little monster to giggle like any other baby. He does require more frequent feeding than his smaller brother, so he screams more.

Gennady did mention that since they started feeding Thing 1 cow’s milk, formula, and breast-feeding that the little guy has been sleeping better. He has also been going longer between feedings. Breast milk is usually the best for a baby. Thing 1 needs a higher nutritional and caloric diet than does his smaller brother.

Our worry on this farm, discussed in hush whispers is the presence of Strontium 90. Found in radioactive fallout, Strontium 90 has a tendency to settle in calcium. If the cows or Sarah ingest food laced with fallout, then Strontium 90 can get into their milk. Thankfully we have several operational Geiger counters.

None of our Geiger counters has indicated any fallout in this area. We are well north of any area where a nuclear weapon was used. Our concern though is the weather, which might eventually bring fallout laced clouds here. Fallout, considering the amount of crap tossed into the atmosphere, is a distinct possibility.

As we enter into the beginning of a Nuclear Winter, the unexpected cold already decimating flowers; things are going to get worse. Next year’s crops are already dying of cold, and any flowers produced by flowering plants which would become fruit, has already been killed by the cold. I fear for our ability to feed ourselves later.

Studies done on concentration camp survivors determined that a person suffering under a 1,500 calorie or less diet for long enough is too tired and hungry to muster any emotion other than apathy. We need to upgrade seriously our diet, less we function at a lesser rate, and soon.

The supermarket raid was fortuitous. It is extremely rare that any store especially one beside a major road, holds anything of value. The law of scarcity is one of the main reasons we started raiding private homes. Refugees, voracious as African Dorylus army ants, stripped any convenience store, restaurant, filling station, bars and homes along the main highways.

Now that Thing 1 is receiving better nutrition, Gennady mentions that he has been less fussy. Quickly providing teat or bottle helps calm the little guy, as well. Gennady does mention (with some pride) that his eldest son burps loud enough to be the envy of any Russian sailor. Because of the unique family dynamic, Gennady has to help feed the children.

Because Sarah is breast-feeding, she has had to increase both her fluid and calorie intake. Doc Jamal wants Sarah to avoid any diuretics like caffeine for now. Doc has also vetoed any non-decaffeinated soda or tea. Gennady has ensured that Sarah has plenty of Gatorade, water, beer and wine.

Watching Sarah breastfeed, I see that she is snacking on a light blue package of sea salt flavored Royal Hawaiian Macadamia nuts. At almost 1,000 calories for a five ounce bag, Macadamia nuts have one of the highest weights to calorie ratios. Sarah washes the Macadamia nuts down with a glass of red wine.

Well hidden in a nice deep root cellar under the house, packed in straw and sawdust are several English white oak 25 gallon wine casks. Each cask contains Malmsey wine that is three to five years old. Malmsey is now used almost exclusively for a sweet variety of Madeira wine. Made from the Malvasia grape, Malmsey was a traditional name for a sweet red European wine from Greece.

Sarah does not care for beer, but she does seem to enjoy the occasional glass of wine. It is a shame that we do not possess some of the sweeter, “kiddy alcohol drinks” such as Zima, Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Seagram’s Escapes as they may be more to Sarah’s liking. Alcohol may be empty calories, but it is still calories.

The convoy has roughly planned a detail to butcher some of the cattle and fowl on this dairy farm. I never really cared for jerky of any variety as a snack. Jerky is about to become a dietary staple again, no longer just a treat. We need to acquire sources of protein that will survive without modern conveniences like refrigeration and freezing.

I notice some of the Scouts leaning on their motorcycles while walking across the muddy farmyard. The lads with their big bikes remind me of several post-apocalyptic movies that Shack and the other lads are so fond of remembering. The black leather and Kevlar motorcycle and BMX bicycle racing kit the lads wear offers excellent protection from zombie bites.

The Goth-like, spiked, black leather dog collars some of the Scouts wear might be more for looks than function. I do imagine that the spiked collars wards off zombie bites while looking stylish. Thank God the lads have not started shaving their heads terribly short or sporting brightly colored Mohawks, yet.

Crossing the yard, I go looking for Shack. I wonder where that boy has gotten off to now.

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2 Comments
  1. medicine man permalink

    Great continuance of the story. Thing 1 worries me and you actually answered a few questions without my asking. I wonder what happens when it cuts teeth (black or not) will they be typical baby teeth ?
    Will he want to eat people as he matures ? I am sure Doc Jamal would euthanize him if he ate his brother….

    I hope you and the family will not be part of this “Ice Age” that is occurring up North. I never asked where you reside as a courtesy and to keep a bit of anonymity for you and yours.

    We will be hit by 63 degrees this Tuesday morning, but back up to 82 by Friday. Stay warm and stay well my friend. M.M.

    • I am looking forward to writing the development of Thing 1. There is more coming in the next chapter.

      We are unusually cold here and have been for several days. The weather has been below freezing all day. I live near the Canadian border in the north west corner of WA. Hard frost every morning and we have had to keep pipes from freezing.

      The hard freeze here gives me ideas for my Ruth stories.

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