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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s Story #169 Dealing with the red head outside Baker City #TEOTWAWKI #SHTF #WROL

April 3, 2016

Thank you to all of my faithful readers, who patiently waited while I dealt with a death in the family and work. I shall now return to my regular schedule of posting a new Ruth chapter each Sunday.

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As the sun sets, the day’s warmth fades. Leaving the red-head and I, Iain scouts for a better campsite. Returning about an hour later, Iain and I quickly move our menagerie down to the new campsite.

While Iain secures the new campsite beside the Powder River, I scrounge for firewood. Iain and I both keep an eye out for unfriendly company that might have observed our movement. Iain found a suitable campsite underneath the rusty remains of a shattered old bridge.

The old bridge makes a decent defensible position and something that we can put our backs too if we get in a fight. It has been many years since we have encountered anyone else, but you never know who may still be out here.

Other than Flower’s group of feral children, the headless man and the voluptuous red-head are the first people Iain and I have seen in over a year. This many years after the KCAP pandemic wiped some 90% of humanity from the face of the earth, there are just not that many people.

Those that have survived though, tend to be the hardiest, and most ruthless people. Manners and nice behavior are conceits of an affluent society. Now it is all about survival. Iain thinks that people become cannibals because humans are easier to catch than anything else. And there used to be several billion humans on this mud ball at one time.

Iain lays our bedrolls underneath the cracked concrete and rusty spans of the bridge while I busily stack firewood. There is plenty of dead-fall in the area, and even some old tinder-dry bridge beams.

I have learned from Iain that most of the dead wood along the river is quaking aspen. A short-lived tree, quaking aspen makes good firewood and there is plenty of it. I also find several pieces of dead Indian hemp.

The dead Indian hemp (Apocynum Cannabinum) once dried will make excellent tinder. I will save some of the hemp stalks to pound into loose strands for tinder later. Since living with Iain, I have learned a lot about edible and useful plants. It is a shame that there are not any Indian hemp seeds, as the roasted seeds are quite tasty.

I may not be as good as Brenda was, but I am better than I was at the start of KCAP as a clueless urban-dwelling woman.

Using an old, over-sized “survival knife” I baton the larger pieces of wood, into manageable chucks. I worry about the noise of me beating on the back of the old knife, but hopefully the noise of the river drowns out my banging.

Our stunningly beautiful captive sits underneath the bridge, mutely watching as Iain and I prepare camp. There is nowhere for her to go, but even so, Iain still tied her to one of the old bridge beams. I do not turn my back on the woman, just in case. In time I forget about the woman.

While I get the fire going, Iain takes care of the livestock. There is no way to hide the wagon, so Iain moves it with the team around the side of the broken bridge where it will not be seen immediately from the roadway.

While I fiddle with the fire, Iain checks the tack, making sure nothing needs mending. Some pieces of leather tack get a slight coat of rendered bear lard for protection.

The dry wood burns hotly and produces little smoke. I am proud of the way that I can make a fire, having learned from Iain after all of these years. A beaver pond underneath the bridge impounds a nice smooth pond.

As I approach the pond with my battered, old tea-pot, a family of beavers slides into the water, slapping their tales as they disappear. Iain steps beside me his fishing pole in his hands.

“Is beaver tasty,” I ask.

“I’ve eaten beaver many times, and not just yours.” (Yes, he really went there – dirty minded old man.) “Beaver tail can be quite tasty, as it is very fatty and full of flavor. If we were here longer, I might try to capture a few beavers, the pelts could be handy for trade.”

Across the bridge on the side of the hill is a dike of igneous rock. I have learned a little geology from Iain. Geology is interesting, especially here in eastern Oregon where we live. Not too long ago I learned that our bunker lays in an excavated laccolith.

Iain fishes while I boil water for Labrador tea. What I would give for some fine Chinese green tea. While the water heats I dig out my little wooden kuksa, that I carved just before I left the convoy.

Sipping my tea sweetened with some of the precious fake honey, I notice a very naked and dripping wet captive sauntering into camp. I had forgotten about the woman, I am so used to Iain and I being alone.

Definitely not shy this one. “How the fuck did you get free?” I grumble to her.

Dropping her clothes in a pile beside the fire and placing her hands on her hips she turns to face me. “Your man did not tie the knots very tightly. I like being tied up but I also learned how to get out of ropes a long time ago.” She simpers at me.

Biting my tongue to keep from snapping at her and resisting the sudden, strong urge to bitch slap the shit out of her, I take a deep breath.

“Iain see you,” I stupidly ask.

“Honey, of course he did.”

I get an impulsive, mental visual of what her face would look like when I put a 124-grain hollow point between those perfect green eyes.

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