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    Zombies, Friggin' Zombies

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    Kieyotie McDermott
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    Zombies, Friggin' Zombies

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:17 pm

    Well, we've survived. At least this far. We haven’t won yet. There are still outbreaks every day, usually because someone wasn’t being careful. It only takes one mistake to wipe out one of our small communities. We are becoming stable again, though. Those that need it have even started setting up a government again.

    As I go through these notes and type them out so someone else might be able to read them, I can see how far I've come since the new beginning. (That's what it's being called I'm told, "The new beginning of Man." Sounds like a religious cult to me.) But it doesn't matter. I'll go back to the beginning for you. At least the beginning for me. I know a few people getting together to compile their stories, and I’ve been asked to include mine. Maybe knowing how things were will help you understand how things are.

    It took me awhile to get time to start writing again, and the where-with-all to store my notes. I had been writing on scraps from about the first week, but I kept losing them for one reason or another. It was frustrating to lose everything over and over, just because I had to jump and run to stay alive.

    Sometimes I think about it and am glad I was here and not over in Europe where they have had most of their guns taken from the people. I hear things are a lot worse there. It’s supposed to be very feudal with most settlements based around the old castles. You don't hear too much from the politicians screaming against gun rights anymore! Maybe they were all eaten.

    I'll try to piece this together as best I can for you. I never was much of a writer, even though I always wanted to be one. Now I have the chance. I used to be a little of everything at one time or another. And not all of it was good. I can admit that because it doesn't really matter anymore. My neighbors know they can rely on me and we get along together well enough, and that’s all that matters.

    Right before the end I was working as a welder on an offshore rig in the gulf. We all missed the initial madness, but that really wasn't a good thing for all of us. At first the news reports didn't make much sense. And were filtered so much that no one could really tell what was going on.

    The reports of a possible virus outbreak in England started about our shift's third day on the rig. Then everything quieted down for four or five days. And let me add, I was never a big fan of watching the news and on the crew T.V. there was usually either a movie or porn. Most people talked to their families every day, but being on the rig is much like being in prison, people don't talk about what's important and going on in the world. They just try to nudge around things to keep each other comfortable. So we missed even most of what was put out by the news people and government. The news really did not catch our attention until someone flipped past CNN and saw the guys with M16s in the background of the news room. That caught everyone's attention and we started asking around more. The next day the rig managers pulled us all in and let us know that we were to continue working. That there was a virus of some kind on the east coast, nowhere near our homes and families. WE were told that everything was under control and that the company would send us home if things got worse, but not to worry about anything.

    For two days work lagged as we all tried to stay in touch with home and heard the horror stories of what was going on in places like New York, Chicago, LA, Miami, Seattle, Boston and DC. Some of us had cell phones, and our families told us that it was worse than the news was saying and that people were killing each other everywhere. We were told that whatever was going on had started in the cities mostly, places with international ports, but now things were spreading into the suburbs and outlying areas. The country folk were still pretty much okay but there had been several incidents. People repaying old grudges, looting in the stores, people were forming up local militias and such. The President began issuing martial law orders from some secret bunker he’d been moved to. Then we heard that Houston and Galveston had been hit by whatever this was. It wasn’t long after that when we lost contact with everything on land. Our phones quit working and the satellite T.V. was shut down.

    That was when the rig shut down. We'd tried to keep working until that point, but when we couldn't call our families, we all demanded to go home. Most of us anyway. A couple people wanted to live on the rig until the last minute and hope things came back on. Most of us knew what crap that was. We had to get back and see if there was anything we could do to protect our families.

    So we set to work building a couple of raft of sorts out of the P-tanks to tow behind one of the escape pods. We loaded it with everything of value from the rig and set sail back to the coast. Since we were only about a day out, we figured we could get to shore easily enough. We left those that wanted to stay. We needed the escape pods, but we left behind a couple inflatables and a better than fair share of foodstuffs. We left early in the morning before the sun came up so we could begin our way home in broad daylight.

    And since we'd all heard the stories of what people were turning into, we'd made plenty of pointy and edged weapons to have when we hit shore. Most of us had at least a pistol in the truck or car in the lot, but if things were as bad as we suspected- and we were going for a night of the living dead scenario from what we'd heard- we wanted to be able to get to our cars.

    The worst part was that none of us really knew what we'd come up against when we hit the shore. Dave's wife said that she'd seen one of her neighbors trying to eat their dog out in the yard and she'd shot the guy. Bill's brother said that people in the city were looting and fighting out in the streets and pretty much shooting any and every one. Carl's wife had said that the news had completely shut off and that the military were in Lafayette telling people to stay inside and away from each other and not to open their doors to anyone.

    My wife lived out with our two little ones in a trailer out on a little piece of land I'd bought. The last time she'd gone into town to get groceries, the prices of everything were jacked up and you couldn't even get most things you'd need like canned goods and powdered stuff. She paid ten times what she should have just to get enough to last a couple more weeks and fill up the truck and a couple spare gas cans. Last I'd talked to her she was sitting home, locked up, afraid to go anywhere. Her friend had called screaming for help because her husband was trying to kill her and their kids. Beth said that she’d heard a window break in the background then nothing but screams and rage filled growling. I could tell she’d heard more, but she refused to talk about it. The phones had cut out shortly after out talk.

    My biggest problem was that we were going to land in Louisiana, and I lived in South Texas. I'd have to try to get home with my brother-in-law. But I wasn't the only one having to travel. Our crew was from Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and northern Louisiana. But Dex and I had to go about the farthest to get home. And we had to go through Lafayette and Houston or figure out how to get around them on the back roads. Luckily we'd brought Dex's truck and he had a 30-06, a 30/30, a 9mm pistol and a 12ga. shotgun with plenty of shells. And I had my .303 and .410 and .44 revolver. We'd been planning to head past the deer lease on the way home. And honestly we were hoping to pick up a couple gators on the way home, too. We had a couple boxes of shells for each gun, too.

    We all took turns talking about what we expected and how we were going to deal with things back home...when we got there. Long before the shore came into sight we were laughing over what kings we'd be if the world had actually gone to hell while we were gone. My plan was to visit the truck dealership and see what I could find the keys to. Dex had plans on a gun store and then the first mall we came across. I figured a good outdoors store might be better. We all planned to stick together long enough to loot the first gas station we came across for gas and food...and beer.

    That all changed when we came ashore. There were boats wrecked against the docks and trucks driven into each other and into the water. We could smell death as we got closer. It smelled like a gutted deer left to cook on the side of the road for a couple days. Only worse. We found a place on the docks and tied off and quickly got the hell on solid land. We were going to bring our vehicles back to load the stuff from the rafts. Looking around we saw plenty of dead folks lying tore up and didn't want to be loaded down on the way across to where our trucks were parked about a mile away. Looking across past the dead people and the wrecked trucks, the oil tanks and warehouse buildings and everything else...well let’s just say I wasn't looking forward to it. I'd seen my share of scary movies, and this looked just as bad. Like the part where you yell at the guy to get back in the boat and just keep going. But I had my family. And guns in the truck. And there were almost thirty of us altogether. And we all had something good for killing we’d put together from what we had on the rig. I felt I had a pretty good chance of making it. I looked at a couple of the fatter, out of shape guys and thought of the Buddy System in the woods. "You don't have to outrun the bear, just your buddy." I smiled and one of those guys must've read my mind because he glared and cussed at me before heading along the dock to the lot.

    Now in the zombie monster movies, everything attacks at night, some aversion to sunlight. Let me tell you, it's not so. They might not be out on the beach getting a tan, but what we found damned sure didn't turn to dust in the sun. It actually seemed to piss them off more.

    We had made it to the area where they pulled the trucks through to load the tanks and warehouses when they came at us. They crawled out from under the trucks, out of the buildings, from under piles of pallets.

    One minute it was scary quiet and the next these things were screaming and yelling and coming at us. They were people...or had been once. They were covered in blood and gore. Some were tore up pretty bad. Their faces...Well, you know. Or maybe not if this is years after everyone who knows is gone. It was like when you were little and broke your mother's favorite vase, lamp, dish, whatever. That anger was there, but add to that the teeth and biting and noise of a big dog chained up, but trying to eat your ass. And throw in a sound track from a nuthouse screamer movie. They were running faster than we all expected and a couple were in amongst us before we could stop them, knocking us around and apart.

    I had a fire axe, a big ass pry bar, and a 36" pipe wrench. I'd also kept my hardhat and goggles. And a dust mask. In a lot of those scary movies got you killed because you got their goo in your eyes or mouth. I even wore my coveralls and gloves, and just to be extra safe, I had a paint suit on over that. The smell made me wish I'd brought a paint mask, too. It smelled bad in the open air, but these guys were even worse.

    I was really lucky they didn't have any weapons of their own. I got knocked down pretty much right away by Dave. He fell into me and tripped me trying to run away. He was a lot bigger than I am, heavier anyway, and just barreled me over. So I found myself fighting on the ground. Kicking and swinging my axe until I just pushed clear and back on my feet. I found my hard hat nearby and stuck it back on my head right away.

    The monster people were too busy chasing the others who ran. They seemed to really like doing that. I had to hit one in the head three times with my axe before it fell away and died. I ran as soon as I could. Those things were fast, nothing like the plodders in the movies. I ran over and around things and they didn't seem to be able to move quite as well.

    I could see that I wouldn’t be able to outrun all of them. They were pulling us down all around me. I looked for a defendable place. I realize now that it wasn’t a very good idea, but I headed for the stairs to one of the massive oil tanks and started up. One grabbed my leg and tried to pull me back, but Dex broke its arm with the pipe he'd been carrying. He’d stayed close without me even seeing. The thing turned on him and I was able to knock a hole in its head with the axe and that put it down. Dex and I made it to the top of the tower where we took turns whacking anything that made it that high, kicking the corpses through the railing.

    Some of the others made it to one of the other towers and we all got to watch our friends and co-workers die. Most of them anyway. Greg had climbed into a truck and locked the door, but they just beat on the windows until they broke and drug him out, screaming and kicking. We saw that anyone who was bitten, and not killed right away, was turned into one of those things pretty much right away. No one could describe how we felt watching people we knew turn into those things and come after us.

    I'm not sure what was worse that morning, being able to see the truck with our guns, or seeing more and more creatures coming from all directions towards us. Or when one of the guys on the tower next to ours, a clumsy guy named Dougie no one thought would make it through his first tour, turned and killed or monsterized everyone over there. He apparently wiped his arm across his eyes with a bloody sleeve and contaminated himself that way. I have to admit that between stress and exhaustion, and my perverse sense of humor, I laughed when old Dougie fell over the side onto a couple of the others and killed them all. Dougie had been kinda klutzy.

    We'd basically trapped ourselves on the damned tanks. We killed or really hurt a bunch of those things, but they just kept coming and before long me or Dex were going to get tired and get us both dead.

    We all lucked out when around noon they either got hot or hungrier or something. They started hiding in shady spots and some began to drift off towards the little town that worked the docks here. We waited until almost three and were pretty much cooked ourselves on that tank before we starting waving to the eight or ten other people on the other tanks and hiding elsewhere. One Derrick man was at the top of a crane boom looking about ready to fall out.

    We all carefully, and very quietly, got down and started for the trucks. There was a field of sorts between the dock area and where we had to park, but it was only about a hundred yards across. Unfortunately it was a boggy mess under the knee high grass from the recent rains. We were going to try to get to our trucks and get in pretty much together and get out of there before we were surrounded and drug out and eaten, beaten, whatever.

    Unfortunately a dozen guys tramping across a gravel strewn road made noise. Enough to bring our new friends screaming out of their holes. So we ran. Tired beyond moving, we ran. Kyle and Fred both fell in a hole or something and did not make it much further. I had never cared for either of them. They were always stealing rig supplies and tools and avoiding work at every opportunity. Several of the monsters stopped chasing us to have a snack giving the rest of us a better chance.

    Dex and I made it to the truck, and in it, before they caught up to us. With the power door lock thingy, Dex had it open by the time we got there. I dug the shot guns from under the back seat while he simply drove over the monsters in the way. One had got into the bed and was seriously trying to get in the back window. I unlatched the slider and, carefully as i could, kicked his fat head back out. Then I shot him with the 12 gauge. He stumbled back and was bounced out into the lot where a couple of his friends attacked him until they realized he wasn’t fresh.

    We pulled around and I shot two more of the monsters trying to drag Bill and Dill from their truck. It was too late for Dill, so i shot him too. Bill was shocked, but not enough to slow him down. He pulled out after us. In all three trucks made it out with six people. We stopped at the first gas station and handed out our guns. Bill didn't have anything, and the other truck had a .380 under the seat. Hector, Juan, and Jorge accepted the firearms, looking terrified. One of them told us how he’d seen the Derrick man make it to his truck ahead of them, but dropped the keys trying to get them in the door. They’d told him to go with them, but he wasn’t quick enough.

    We took turns guarding each other while we looted the best we could and filled our trucks, gas cans and every water jug with gas. We had different directions to go and needed as much as we could get now. We offered to take Bill with us, but he had to get home and tell his parents about Dill. He took my .410 with him.

    I later found out that he shot himself just down the road.

    Me and Dex had a ten hour drive to get back. And three gas stops normally. We tried to figure how and where to stop. Neither of us wanted to go through Houston in the dark, and we'd be there in the early morning if we continued and things went well. He was still adamant about a gun store or something, so we stopped at the next gas station, shot the clerk hiding inside with three dead customers and blood red eyes, and found a phone book.

    We were filling more jugs with gas when every monster who'd heard the shot started showing up. We hauled ass and drove out to where we hoped there weren't any damned monsters and stopped in the middle of the road to see what we could find in the phone book.

    The best they had was a Wal-Mart. Or the Sheriff's office. Wal-Mart might also have some food and I'd seen scary movies that had a sheriff's office that didn’t turn out well, but not one that had a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart also had an oil change bay where we could park and load the truck out of sight. I made Dex stop at the only car lot in town. They were Fords, but better than nothing. Dex’s truck had a lot of miles and wasn’t in the best of shape as it needed a power steering pump and new brakes.
    I had him wait out front and watch my ass while I went inside and found the keys to the big 4x4 show model sitting atop a pile of rocks out by the highway. It had a lift, oversized tires, complete off road package with skid plates, brush guard, and plenty of KC lights. Its big V10 would suck up the gas, but at least we’d have plenty of power.

    Besides, I'd always wanted a new truck, and from the look of town, no one would really care. We'd have taken two, but one of us had to drive and one had to shoot monsters. We quickly switched our meager supplies over and headed out. The only radio station we could pull in was come gospel preaching the end of the world, so I hoped Wally World still had some c.d.s. Sounds silly, but if I was going to be stuck in this horror show, I wanted a good soundtrack.

    Several creatures came out to greet us as we rolled through the little town. We didn’t see or hear from any survivors. We passed the sheriff's station, just to be sure, but it was locked up from inside...and full of monster men trying to get out. I hoped Wal-Mart wasn't the same. We needed a few things. I mean I knew there'd be monsters, but i hoped it wasn't locked up too bad. Or too looted already. Even if we only picked up some more fuel cans to fill and some clean clothes, it would be worth the stop.

    It sat out on the edge of town with a little strip mall at one side of the lot. It was one of the newer places with groceries. The parking lot was full of cars, which wasn't encouraging, but at least it had a gas station with two islands. I drove right up to the front doors and they opened. They still had power and I could see everything well lit inside. It didn’t look looted. I didn't see anything moving after a couple minutes of sitting there, so i drove around back to the service department. The big bay doors were open all the way across and nothing was moving inside. Slowly, I pulled into the one nearest the entrance door and eased through to almost the other side. I turned the air conditioner off, rolled down the windows so we could hear and waited. We both watched all around, especially the oil change pits.

    We sat, scared shitless for a half-hour before we got out. We quickly shut all the bay doors except the one in front of the truck and searched the bay. I pulled the door locky gizmo off the key ring and left the truck running, but locked. I gave the second set of keys I’d grabbed for it to Dex. There was a big Lincoln and a little Subaru in here, too, but no people or monsters. We went to the entrance and looked through the big glass window into the store.

    We both actually relaxed when we saw one of the monsters chowing down on a former Wal-Mart employee. That let us know the place wasn't full of looters holding everything for ransom. And there probably weren't too many of them in there since they weren't swarming around all pissed off.

    But Wal-Mart was big. There could be a hundred of them in there. Only one way to find out. I sent Dex to the truck and had him waiting with it right behind me when I whacked the glass with the end of the shotgun. The creature's head snapped around and I could hear it growl. Then it screamed and ran headfirst into the chicken wired safety glass. The thick glass and the monster's head both cracked and it fell to the floor to twitch a minute. I heard more howls inside and within minutes a couple dozen of the creatures were fighting at the window. I got in the truck and used the .30-.30 to punch neat little holes through the glass into the monsters' heads. After six or seven they broke the glass and I was able to get a couple more before they got through the wire.

    We led them on a merry chase around the parking lot. It took nearly an hour to get them lured out and to get the ones that showed up from the strip mall at the other end of the lot. Then we parked the truck back in the garage bay and went aisle to aisle through the store after locking the bay doors and blockading the front doors with carts, cement blocks and bags of fertilizer from gardening and car batteries. We just loaded up the carts and tipped them over in front of the doors, piling crap up about waist high. I found the switch and shut the doors off at both end of the little entry, dragging as many carts into the space as I could. We weren’t going to try to hold the place, but wanted some time to work.

    There were two still back in the stock room to deal with, but we had us a store. And food, which we pigged out on as we worked our way through gather what little was left. Taking fresh clothes and deodorant, we took turns in the restroom. It was also nice to use the bathroom. Peeing off the tower onto the monsters was fun, but other things had been put on hold. We had to guard for each other, but few things are as nice as a good restroom break.

    My wife had been right about prices, too. Everything had been marked up beyond what most people could pay. But the shelves were surprisingly empty of the most useful items. Flashlights, lanterns, small batteries, good canned foods, beer, wine and liquor, even toilet paper and of course the guns and shells were gone. At least up front. Someone had made a rather nice stockpile in the back room and we acquired a half dozen more weapons, cases of shells, plus bows and arrows. Pallets of water, kerosene lamps, camping supplies, and everything we wanted sat waiting for us on a pallet with a pallet jack under it. Along with the poor bastard who'd done it, or at least the parts of him the monster people hadn't eaten.

    As we made our way back to the truck in automotive we heard gunshots from the front of the store. Apparently the town wasn’t so empty and our noise had attracted locals. I told Dex to hurry. It wasn’t very likely that these locals would want to see these supplies going out the back door with a couple boys from out of state. As we hurried through, I loaded the weapons we’d found and laid them on the supplies where they wouldn’t fall, but could be grabbed up easily. We could hear several men yelling to each other at the front, cursing the need to clear a way into the store. We ducked through automotive and I pushed the door release and hurried out after Dex. Weapons and fragile things like the lanterns went into the backseat and the rest we tossed in the bed. Dex raised the bay door while I watched the store through the broken window. The truck had idled away a chunk of fuel while we’d been inside and the bay stank of exhaust, but it was plenty warm and ready when Dex jumped in and I stepped on the gas. The truck leapt out of the bay just as the new arrivals hit the window. Dex waved farewell then ducked as they fired on our shiny new truck. We later found a single bullet hole in the tailgate.

    We had wanted to stop at the gas station, but decided it might not be the best idea and continued on. We got out on the highway and started west. I had grabbed a good, laminated map book and had Dex start looking for passable routes around the major cities we’d have to pass through. I kept an eye out for the next fuel stop. We had plenty, this beast had a big tank, but I wanted to get it while we could and fill the extra jugs we’d picked up. I told him to keep an eye out for military installations, too. We wanted to avoid those. They were more likely to steal our supplies than help. While some of their weaponry was an enticement to go exploring, I figured that all the good stuff would have been packed off by the soldiers there. I also figured we could double check once we got home and saw how things were there.

    The truck drove well and the roads were mostly clear. There were a few wrecks, but they were off the road in the trees. We saw a couple vehicles over on the other side of the divider heading the other way, but they didn’t slow, and neither did we. More than once we saw monster folk, usually alone, but we passed three or four groups of up to a dozen of them. If they were alone, I stopped and let Dex take care of them, otherwise we continued on.

    As we got farther along we saw surprisingly few cars. Either people had stayed home, or had gotten where they were going. Near towns we saw more people on the roads. We even saw one road block set up just off the highway exit manned by hard eyed fellows with automatic weapons. We slowed, but not by much. I figured it would not be long before they were out on the highway wanting tolls, taking anything of use. At least it hadn’t gotten that far…yet.

    There were, of course, also more monsters around the populated areas. A couple times I pulled off to see what the gas stops looked like and was forced back on the highway by the swarming creatures. I wanted to refuel and find a place to hole up for the night before dark settled. Luckily it was summer and full dark came late, but it was nearly on us. We’d had a long day and were tired.


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    Kieyotie McDermott
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    Re: Zombies, Friggin' Zombies

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:19 pm

    We had been in Texas about an hour and started to discuss where we should stop for the night. Dex was all for finding a nice hotel, one of those long term business types with a nice kitchen. I wanted to stay someplace we could better defend. Someplace we could get the truck out of sight so no one would come after our supplies in the middle of the night. He suggested a jail, saying that they usually had a secure place where they could park when they transferred prisoners in. When I said that those places ran on electricity and I didn’t want us stuck inside, he agreed. We both agreed that those places were probably full of criminal type monster people, too. We decided to try to find a country house back off the road by itself somewhere. We didn’t want to get lost back-roading, but we still had about an hour of daylight left. Gas would have to wait until morning.

    I slowed down as we came near the next town and we both kept an eye out for something to indicate a place to stay. I spotted a prospect across the highway. It had a nice stone entry with a good wrought iron gate and the name of the place over the paved driveway. I slowed down and trundled us across the muddy center then across the divider to the access road. The gate was closed but not locked, instead it was one of those that ran on a track with a motor. There was a key pad, but that helped them none. With Dex watching my ass, I grabbed the heavy-duty bolt cutter I’d grabbed for just such occasions and walked around the stone entry to where I could duck through the barbed-wire fence. I snipped through the heavy bicycle chain holding the gate in place and with Dex’s help we pushed it back out of the way. Once the truck was through we pushed it back.

    We headed up the drive and the trees opened up to a rather nice plantation with a small fountain in the circular drive. I stopped at the tree line to see what the situation was. I turned the radio off, I’d snatched a good selection of c.d.s while I had the chance. Dex whistled his approval and stated that he hoped that the owners weren’t inside watching us with high dollar rifles. There weren’t any cars in the driveway, but there was a large garage just off the house connected to the house by a breezeway.

    Again we waited to see if anyone, or anything, was going to come out after us. It was quiet. Somewhere far off we heard a cow, but nothing close, just a mockingbird and wind in the leaves. I pulled through the circle so we were facing back down the drive and honked the horn a couple times. I could now see a large barn and a couple horses eating from a trough. I pointed it out to Dex, someone was still around. There was still plenty of light, but the sun was quickly dropping down behind the trees.

    I pulled out of the drive onto the graveled path that ran to the barn, keeping an eye on everything. The horses looked up when we drove by and I could see a feed bucket lying where it had been dropped beside the trough. I could see that the gate out to the house was still closed and secured with a snap latch, but that the barn door was open just a crack. I mentioned this to Dex and stopped the truck to holler out the window. I figured it was some scared kid. I let whoever it was know that we weren’t zombies and were willing to trade some supplies for a place to sleep. That we would be moving on a soon as the sun was up in the morning. And that we were just oilfield trash trying to get back home, not psycho killers escaped from the pen.

    A rifle barrel poked out the gap in the door and a feminine voice yelled for us to move along. They had all they needed and that her husband and his brothers were due back from town at sunset.

    I had a distinct feeling she was full of it. That she was alone and had been for a little while, but I didn’t want to get shot, either. I asked if we could camp out front, in plain sight. That I wanted to talk to her husband before I continued home to my wife and kids. That we’d been offshore and didn’t really know what was going on and needed some information. I said we’d be more than happy to camp out by the trees. That if any monsters came then the house would at least have warning as they tried to eat us first.

    Dex asked me if we shouldn’t just move along.

    I told him I had a good feeling about the place and that it would be dark soon. I didn’t want to be out on the roads at night until I knew more. Sleeping in the truck wouldn’t be fun, but at least there would be someone watching their backs, even if they weren’t going to help us in any real way a shouted warning might be enough to keep us alive tonight.

    He wanted to know what we’d do if her husband and his brothers were a bunch of big angry rednecks who’d decide to take our stuff and kick our teeth in.

    Well, that’s why we carried guns. Either way, we’d stay in the truck until it was well past dark. If no one showed then we could clear out the back seat and take turns trying to get some rest. I put the truck in reverse and backed down to the other side of the fountain where I stopped and killed the engine with us facing the driveway. I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could watch the barn.

    She stayed in the barn about ten minutes watching us over the rifle. Then the gun disappeared. A few minutes later I thought I saw her run across to the house. I’d been watching the driveway for headlights in the darkening evening and just caught movement. I got the impression of a younger woman, but not a kid. And red hair, which could definitely mean trouble.

    I kicked the radio back on quietly and we waited for lights in the drive, gunfire from the house, or monsters from the trees. Needless to say, I nearly peed myself when someone knocked on my door, waking me up.

    She told me that I might want to kill the radio before the battery died. She was holding a compact little pistol, but was smiling. There was a picnic basket with a lantern atop it off to one side a little. She had spoken softly and Dex, a much deeper sleeper was still snoring over in the passenger seat. Her red hair was the color of spun copper in the lantern light, pulled back in a thick ponytail that hung nearly to her waist. She wore high dollar blue jeans and a nice blouse. She was tall, too, and had no problem looking into the lifted truck. She was clearly unafraid, but still cautious of the strangers in the truck. She let me know that she wanted to talk and motioned with the gun that I should step out. She told me to wake my partner, and for us to bring our guns, but to watch where they got aimed.

    Me, being the ass that I am, put my finger to my lips, grinned and nodded. I reached over and checked the safety of Dex’s rifle, then shook him screaming that the zombies were here and they were going to get us.

    He screamed and tried grabbing at his rifle, looking around panicked as I burst out laughing. Even the young lady outside let loose a chuckle at look on his face, but quickly hid it. He told me what he thought of my joke using language I’m not sure I approved of with the lady present. He also said that he might need to change his shorts.

    When I got control of my laughter, I let him know that I understood and told him how the lady had caught me napping, too. We stepped out and she backed off a couple steps, watching us. We stood there, enduring her examination. I was glad that we had cleaned ourselves up at Wally World. We were in new clothes, moderately shaved, and didn’t smell like we’d stepped off the rig anymore. We had good rifles and an obviously stolen truck. It still had the cardboard dealer’s plates, and window stickers. I leaned my rifle against the front tire on my side and Dex set his beside it.


    The moon hadn’t risen yet, and it was quite dark around our little circle of light. She smiled and introduced herself, tucking her pistol into the holster on her hip. She informed us that her husband had called in on the cb and would be delayed in town a little while yet. He wanted to meet these visitors that were trespassing. She was also supposed to shoot them if she felt it was needed. Her name was Violet Dakota and her husband’s was Frank. She decided to come out and see who her unwelcome visitors were and what they had to say for themselves. She also let us know we could relax a little. She told us that the horses could sense the zombies and would let her know if any were close. That was why she had them up at the barn, and why she needed to feed them.

    She motioned to the basket and told us to dig in. She stayed back as I moved the lantern and passed a warm, tin foil covered plate to Dex. There was also a thermos of hot coffee. Fine silverware and coffee mugs were also in the basket with sugar, cream, salt and pepper shakers. Since she was obviously going to stand back, I dropped the tailgate and climbed up for a seat.

    “I can see that you two are looters,” she said motioning at the truck, “but I don’t see any TVs or computers or the like, so what are you up to?”

    “Just what I said,” I told her. “We finally got off the rig and are headed home to see how bad things are there. We haven’t had any news since day before yesterday when our phone cut out. We traded up on trucks because I wanted to be sure we actually made it home. And we wanted to make sure we had supplies for the trip and for when we got there. I hear things were pretty hard to come by before everything went to hell.”

    Dex nodded. He was too busy eating the spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread to offer any other input.

    I introduced ourselves and thanked her for the meal. I also asked if there was anything the house needed that we could offer in return.

    Instead of answering, she asked to see out driver’s licenses. We dug them out and passed them over. She looked them over, glancing up at us a couple of times. She passed them back then surprised us both by asking if she could come along with us when we left.

    Dex sputtered as he choked on a bite of food. I thumped his back and smiled at her. “What made you decide we were safe?”

    “A few things. You were more interested in food and talk than…other things you could have done with me, armed or not.” She pointed to where their guns now rested beside them in the bed of the truck against their supplies, “You’ve kept your weapons close and have been watching around even though I said it was safe, but haven’t threatened me in any way. You never tried to force your way into the house even when you could have kept me trapped in the barn as far as you knew.” She paused and looked at them a moment, “And I’m tired of being here alone waiting for someone unfriendly to remember I’m here and come calling. I’ve had some trouble already along those lines.”

    Dex was wiping his empty plate with a chunk of bread, “What kind of trouble?”

    “One of our hands stopped by a couple days ago. I had to run him off. He’s one I never cared for. He promised to come back. If I hadn’t been inside, he might have caught me like you two did. The gate has an alarm that sounds inside to let us know when someone’s opened the gate. I heard your truck in time to get out of sight, but dropped the damned bucket.”

    She began to pace, “My husband’s in the Navy. This is his parent’s place. When this all started to happen he said his ship would be heading out to sea until those that could either got a handle on things. He said they were going to cut communications to keep people from panicking so bad and that he would contact her as soon as he could. He’s a Lt. Commander on the “a destroyer”. I haven’t heard anything in three days. His parents and a trusted hand went into town day before yesterday in the morning to see about getting the locals organized and see if anyone needed help with anything. They’re very involved in the community around here. Miguel must have seen them in town and thought it would be safe to come see me. They still haven’t returned, obviously. Miguel said they weren’t going to, that most everyone in town was…well that they weren’t coming back. I made it clear that if he didn’t leave and never return, he wouldn’t have to worry about it himself. There’s a couple shotguns at each door in there. I also had a couple rifles moved out to the barn. Frank’s family was very big on home defense.”

    She paused a moment to see if they had anything to say before continuing, “I’d like to go into town, but haven’t wanted to go on my own. I have a few friends there and was hoping that someone would come out to check on me. Several of them have the gate code. How did you get in anyway?”

    I tried to look apologetic, “Cut the motor chain and we heaved it out of the way, then put it back. The thing won’t open on its own anymore. If anyone’s come by since we’ve been here, they must think your power’s out.”

    “Well, I’d like you to come with me to see what shape the town’s in. If you’ll do that, there are several guest rooms inside. If things are bad there, I’d like to come with you. We can always come back once you have your families. There’s quite a bit of supplies here and a couple generators for when we do loose power. There’s a fallout shelter and plenty of wild game when the freezers finally go. It’s a good place, but I just can’t stay here alone anymore.”

    I looked to Dex and he thought it over and shrugged, “You’ll have to convince Janie that I never tried to sleep with her, though.” He thought about it, “Sadly if she’s been zombified, it’ll be hard to tell, since she’s kind of mean even when there’s not monsters running the streets.” He sighed, “I don’t have that kind of luck, though. I’m sure she’s just fine, and more than willing to find a way to make all this my fault. Although if this hadn’t started over in England, I’d swear that she bit someone and started it!”

    Violet looked confused, “I take it she’s not a pleasant lady?”

    “There’s a reason I took a job a hundreds of miles away, out in the ocean, for weeks at a time. I was too dumb for the Army, otherwise…”

    “Otherwise you’d probably be zombie fodder by now,” I told him, “Better to be with Janie than zombie chow.”

    Dex didn’t look so sure.


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    Kieyotie McDermott
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    Re: Zombies, Friggin' Zombies

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:20 pm

    Once we’d agreed to help her out, we were invited in. First she had us pull the truck into the barn, out of sight. When we got that far, we saw that on the other side of the barn was a covered pad and sitting on it was a large motor coach. One of the big bus types. Hooked up to it was a rather nice Rubicon.

    Violet told us that she already had both stocked with supplies and weapons. She said that being a lady on her own, she did not want to have to search for a bathroom once she decided to leave the ranch. It was a diesel pusher, which might make fueling an issue, but the comfort would make up for the hassle. She’d planned to use the Jeep for scouting.

    Personally I was glad to be adding Violet to our small company. She was smart, prepared, and seemed able to take care of herself. We’d see how she held up against the zombies soon enough. She hadn’t actually seen any, but had seen what had filtered onto the internet before that had been shut down.

    Inside she showed us to rooms nicer than they would have found in most hotels and then around the house a little. She said that we were probably ready for bed, but there was something we had to see first, if she thought we’d be able to sleep after.

    Her in-laws were nice people, but less than trusting of their government, especially if there was trouble in the air. Her father-in-law had a studio full of video monitors, computers and recording equipment. He had compiled a “Best Of” video from what the news and internet had put out to take into town. Violet set me and Dex down to watch this, saying that it would be about the quickest way to get caught up.


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