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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #110 Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war #SHTF #TEOTWAWKI

April 23, 2014

Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war

Sam looks at Cauley as if he is something nasty stuck to the bottom of his boots. “Your ability to sense your comrades must be limited by distance.” He says with a smirk on his face.

Cauley’s face goes blank for a moment as if he is concentrating on something. Then his eyes open wide and he starts to open his mouth to say something. With fluid grace and rattlesnake like speed Sam whips his 1911 pistol from the tanker holster on his left side. From a seating position Sam shoots Cauley and one of the standing cannibals.

Cauley’s face registers shock as a 45 caliber hole appears in his forehead. Most of his skull spatters across the legs of the cannibals behind him and the floor. Cauley’s large body smashes to the floor where it shudders a few time before lying still. Shot once in the head, the standing cannibal to left crumples to the floor. Carmine, with fluid grace borne of years of martial arts mastery, pulls his sundáng with an evil hiss and beheads the standing cannibal to the right.

The all too familiar odors of shit, piss, and blood flood the suddenly small room. Carmine wipes the gore from his blade as a QRF team arrives and starts removing the bodies. A cursory search reveals nothing of interest upon the cannibal’s corpses.

“Shoulda done that when I first encountered the nasty fucker.” Sam mutters holstering his pistol. Standing he shouts into the kitchen. “Let’s clean this mess up! Junior, front and center!”

“Like fucking Han Solo,” Shack mutters to me.

Junior pops into the dining room handing Sam a radio. I catch some of the radio traffic between Sam and the deployed forces. Sam, the sneaky bastard, evacuated the Adventist’s compound to our farm installing a security detail. Most of the cannibals that attacked the Adventist’s compound were killed with the possibility of maybe only two or three escaping.

“Sam, why was I not told of the plan to evacuate the Adventists?” I ask arching my eyebrows at him. “I am supposed to be the S4 of this outfit, yet you cut me out of the loop.”

“I am sorry Ruth. The plan was assembled yesterday in haste. You were asleep, and I felt that you needed your sleep more than a boring briefing on my plan to double cross and annihilate the cannibals.” Sam does not look terribly contrite, and I do appreciate him letting me sleep. Sleep is precious. I seem incapable of getting enough lately.

Sam looks at Nikola, who also stood when the shooting started. Nikola still holds his Stechkin APS in his right hand. Realizing that he no longer might need his pistol he puts it away on his right hip. He takes a minute to tease Sam about the 1911A1’s “fatal flaw.” Sam’s response is that the 1911 only has a fatal flaw if you use an old outdated method of point shooting not taught since the early 1920s.

Nikola good-naturedly replies that is why Soviet pistols are far superior. The Soviet weapon designers installed a small safety catch so that the barrel latch pin cannot slide out. The 1911 lacks a safety catch and the barrel link pin could slide out rendering the weapon inoperable. Nikola chuckles at what must be an inside joke between the two men because I do not understand. Nikola leaves to rejoin Carol and Nguen in the radio tent.

In the distance, I can hear the thumping of a large-caliber cannon. I look at Sam in explanation. He shrugs at me. “We just commenced shelling the cannibal’s enclave with the MGS and mortar Strykers. We also built two Roman onagers. Mounting each onager on a HEMTT gives it maneuverability that the ancient Romans legions could only dream of. Utilizing the electric winch at the rear of the HEMTTs also enables the onager crew to reload faster than hand cranking. The onagers tossed thermite and mustard gas bombs that we made in an old, hand cranked cement mixer.”

Sam moves around the table while the room is cleaned. “We were already making the thermite and mustard gas bombs when we stopped here. We had collected most of the ingredients needed as we travelled north. I was not expecting to have to use them so soon. The MGS Stryker is shooting some of that old, questionable 105mm ammo we have. Reports from the gun crew and spotters state that more than a few of the old, questionable canister shells failed to detonate.”

Sam gulps some of the cold Spruce tea brought in by the cook’s assistant and guard. After swallowing, he grimaces at the taste.

“However, the 105mm High-Explosive Squash Head (HESH), white phosphorus incendiary, and HE rounds have been quite effective. The flimsy cinder block walls and sheet metal roofing might have kept most people out, but it was not difficult to penetrate with the heavy weapons. The onagers lobbed several of the thermite bombs on the roof top of the old Walmart that the cannibals were living in. The onager crews then dropped mustard gas bombs around the parking lot saturating the area catching any cannibals that came running out of the burning building. The moisture laden cool air helped the clouds of mustard gas remain pooled around the cannibal compound. The cannibals that survived through the flames and mustard gas are shot by the sharp shooters.”

Sam looks at me again before continuing.

“The security force I put at the Adventist’s place were to protect the place as best as they could with special emphasis on protecting the livestock and methanol production facilities. I sent a larger assault force, supported by the MGS, to the cannibal’s home. Our mortar Stryker with its 120mm mortar is placed so that it can support either operation. Thankfully, we were able to move the Strykers into place before the cannibals realized we had them.”

Sam speaks into the radio again ignoring Shack and I for a moment. Sam is organizing the return of the Adventists to their place while still leaving most of their weakest members in our compound. For now, we are blending the two groups. Minor injuries are reported among our soldiers, but so far no one killed or seriously injured. During the radio transmissions, I hear the word ballista and scorpio mentioned several times.

I ask Sam what the two words mean in the context of the battle. “Ruth those are two more Roman siege engines that we constructed. Both are large crossbow-like weapons with the ballista being the much larger. We thought of building a trebuchet, but it would have been far too large to fit on the HEMTT. We should have built more of the scorpios as they are highly effective against the cannibals.”

Sam motions with his empty cup for more tea quickly gulping it down. “The Adventist’s blacksmith made all of the metal fixtures for the weapons and she did a hell of a job. We need to collect the expended bolts from both of the large crossbows so we can reuse them if possible. That old Walmart is fully engulfed in flames. Any cannibal that runs out from the fire is shot on sight. Ruth, why don’t you and Shack go to bed and get some sleep before your radio watch tonight. There is nothing more for you guys to do now.”

I overhear Sam and Jamal discuss the Kayak Point trip logistics for a few moments. There is some iodine being used to purify water. There is a real concern with giardia contaminating the water. Since Rain’s mother died of dysentery, water purification is paramount to the Adventists. The use of iodine though has a problem because people who are allergic to shellfish are also allergic to iodine. Jamal needs to discover who is allergic to shellfish.

In passing, as Shack and I head for our bedroll, we hear that the large roaring fire of the old Walmart and the noise from all the guns are drawing many zombies from the nearby areas. No one quite knows why zombies are attracted to fire. Zombies are so attracted to fire that they will actually walk into the blaze committing suicide.

Unfortunately, not enough zombies are committing flaming suicide. Some of the Adventists mention that the old Walmart had been abandoned for a while after the new Super Walmart was constructed on the other side of the highway. The newer Super Walmart is a flame gutted ruin. When Sam is done, the old Walmart will match the newer one.

Shack and I stumble off to bed lulled to sleep by the occasional dull, distant thump of the MGS or mortar Stryker.

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7 Comments
  1. Tim permalink

    Yep. Nice chapter. Keep them coming.

    • Thank you Tim. I am glad that you enjoyed the chapter.

  2. Art permalink

    Sam is a bad ass!

    My only question is how did/could Ruth not know about the construction of the siege engines. They would have everyone talking and would be hard to hide…
    Excellent chapter; Sam made the story!

    Thanks again,
    Art

    • Thank you Art, your question is both timely and well thought out. I had better answer your question in Friday’s chapter. I appreciate readers who point out leaps of logic that I miss.

  3. medicine man permalink

    What can I possibly say… Awesome……. I didn’t expect the cannibals to be removed so quickly, I know there are a remnant of them left, but I loved Sam doing the Bull cannibal and his buddy the way he did. I also enjoyed the guardian Adventist’s removal of the last one of those human flesh eating assholes.
    I hope no one got any of their blood or body fluids on them during the cleanup.
    Excellent work!!!
    M.M.

    • Thanks for your comments M.M. as always I appreciate my readers who take the time to even leave me a few words rather they be praise or damnation. I felt the story was in a bit of a rut, so I wanted to move it along.

      Secondary infection from KCAP is highly unlikely. Getting splashed with fluids, while utterly gross, carries a fairly low risk of infection.

  4. DiamondDave permalink

    I am glad to see the cannibal leader dispensed with. Awesome!

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