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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #146 A brief interlude to the present with Iain #TEOTWAWKI #SHTF #WCS

May 3, 2015

A brief leap to the present …

Our damn water turbine in the creek behind the bunker froze. When the lights suddenly dimmed and my computer shut off, Iain told me that the water turbine froze. I thought that he meant with ice. Turns out that the bearings in the old turbine wore out. The damn thing does not turn anymore.

Rather than run the genset, which burns precious diesel, right now the bunker is running on its battery banks and solar cells. Iain scoured the bunker and the old ranch outer buildings for bearings with no luck. We are going to have to run into town and search the auto parts stores for the correct bearings.

Iain knows the Napa part numbers but is fairly sure that there are several bearing sets that will fit the shaft of the water turbine. We are fortunate that the weather is supposed to be clear for the next few days, if you can believe the automatic weather guesser from the old weather channel.

Iain worries that as the various old satellites start falling out of their proper orbits, the information taken from them may be less than accurate. With no one maintaining the satellites, several have already fallen into the atmosphere with a spectacular fireworks show.

Several Chinese and former Soviet satellites have already fallen. From what little radio chatter there is today, it appears that many of the old satellites have, thankfully, fallen into the oceans. A few of the old satellites have hit land, though. Several pieces of the old International Space Station hit portions of the former European Union, Greece and Siberia.

Some piece of space junk, not sure if it was an old satellite or some other falling piece of shit, struck the greater Sacramento, California area. According to some ham radio rumor, most of the Sacramento area suffered from neutron bomb fallout. I doubt that a piece of space junk the size of a VW Kombi van striking the Sacramento area mattered much. From the few times I have visited Sacramento, a strike by space junk may improve the place.

For the survivors living in the old Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California falling, burning space junk creates one hell of a night-time fireworks display. I am not sure if the Palomar survivors have enough power to move the telescopes, but apparently they have an enviable view of the night-time sky otherwise. Their ham radio works well some nights and we are able to talk sometimes by plain voice. When the radio attenuation is too bad because of atmospheric conditions, sometimes we can use Morse code to talk to various ham operators.

In the subterranean stalls, Iain and I check the horse’s hooves and pack our saddle bags. Iain loads four pack mules with empty cloth and burlap panniers. I have not quite gotten the hang of loading the specialized harness of the pack mules. I wish now that I had listened to my elder paternal uncle when he was showing me how to load camels. I despise camels with a passion verging upon mania.

My uncle’s lesson would have served me well today, as the mule’s pack harness looks like that of a camel’s. We are not going to waste diesel by taking Iain’s old Ford truck this time. Horses and mules are much quieter. Equines may not have the speed of Iain’s old Ford pickup, but they are a lot quieter, which is far more important.

With the dead quiet of the town, the idling of a diesel engine will attract far too much attention. The clop, clop of horse and mule shoes is much quieter, and less likely to attract unwanted attention.

Not pushing the horses hard, the ride to Baker City and back should only take a few days. Iain wants to check on the feral children we met last time as we drove along the outskirts of Baker City. We managed to briefly talk to one young girl, dressed in rags who was perhaps no older than 12.

The feral children, lacking major weapons resorted to acid when members of their group are killed. Each child carries a vial of strong acid, probably sulphuric guessing by the smell, around their neck in a crude clay vial. Usually hanging from a rawhide thong, the vial’s contents is used upon the deceased’s eyes.

At first I thought this a strange custom, until the young girl (I cannot help but think of her as anything else) explained to me that the acid eats through the eyes and into the brain, killing any chance of the deceased arising as a KCAP zombie.

The acid is a quick and sure way of ensuring that the dead remain dead. Pouring acid into someone’s eyes flips me out, but is a fairly safe and easy method of dealing with KCAP infected corpses. Acid is safer than attempting to bludgeon or smash the skull and does not require much physical strength. How and where the feral children got the acid remains to be seen.

Iain has a soft spot for the children, and wants to ensure that they are ok. The little feral girl we met last time, Flower, surprised us as we left an old gas station. Shaken by our encounter in the gas station, we were not prepared to meet a group of children. We did not hear the children approach.

Flower is slim-hipped, with small breasts and is either Hispanic or of Native American decent. Her arrow-straight black hair is worn short, hacked off at her jaw line. Missing several teeth, Flower has a long ragged scar bisecting her left cheek from forehead to chin. Dressed in rags, with sandals cut from old tires, Flower was armed with a wooden spear tipped with a large, ugly piece of broken glass.

After Flower assured the feral children that we were safe, and not likely to eat them, the rest of the children came out of hiding. The feral children had never heard a diesel engine nor had they ever seen a working automobile. The children were surprised to see the old Ford truck move, and were delighted to ride on top of it.

The feral children were not aware that cars moved. They thought of cars as static things that they raided for rats or took shelter within from the weather and zombies. Iain believes that most likely the group is led by Flower. Most of the group is comprised of smaller boys and a few younger girls that tag along, whom Flower bullies.

We are not taking the truck this time because of all the attention it caused. The last time we took the old Ford pickup out foraging was a disaster, but perhaps that is a story for another day.

Meeting Flower and the feral children was a stroke of luck. They know all of the buildings in Baker City quite well. The feral children are intimately familiar with moving through the city undetected during the daytime.

According to Iain, barring any unforeseen difficulty, this foraging trip should be a quick one. It will take a few days travel in each direction, so we are prepared to cold camp.

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3 Comments
  1. medicine man permalink

    I enjoyed the move toward present time. My buddy Diamond D. had a (kind) disagreement about the Feral Kids and the way Ruth and Lain related to them. My friend has kids and I do not, but I have to think that in this WWLO world, children (feral or not) can get you killed or compromised (dead either way). My friend was hoping Ruth and Lain might offer some respite and bring them in to their camp. I think they should be held at arms length and possibly studied /recon to see what is up with them.
    Good chapter, let’s go to Kayak and see what happens there.
    Lots of rain which has dropped the temps into the high 70’s. I have a feeling that w are going to have a lot of tropical type stuff this year.

    Take care my friend, M.M.

    • As always, thanks for your encouraging comments.

      The feral kids are based on children that I met in Somalia, Kenya and other parts of Africa. It amazed me how well those kids survived and adapted despite some of the harshest environments imaginable. Kids are more resilient and hardier than we often give them credit for. Granted, a lot of children died, but the strongest survived. It is a very brutal, short life favoring only the strongest. Western society coddles its children, so in my imagined world, not many children survive.

      Far too warm and dry here already. Already in the high 70s and way too little rain. Going to be a bad summer with high fire activity. I hope that I am wrong and it rains a lot.

      Next chapter will be the half way point to Kayak Point, and stop for lunch.

  2. medicine man permalink

    Hot today (Saturday Morning at 80’s already) S.Fla is a crazy place to understand the weather patterns. One thing for sure…No snow, ever…. Thanks for your relating the feral kids to us.

    Take care, M.M.

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