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Old 09-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #4401
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As I watch our fearless leader stagger down the hallway, I start to giggle. Giggling turns into uncontrollable laughter, and I find myself laughing so hard that I start to cry. The laughter is contagious, and soon everyone around me is laughing, too. It's a good, healthy release of emotion.

What they don't know is that I'm scared to death, and the laughter is my only defense at this point. If I don't keep laughing, I'm just going to curl up in a ball and cry myself to pieces. I keep trying to remind myself that I'm lucky to be alive; but after that thought, the one that always follows is, "What the hell do I have to live for?"

Right now, I have people counting on me. As long as I have people to help in this Bunker, I have a reason to be here. Some days that's all I have to grasp.

Something is wrong. I can feel it in the atmosphere between Chain & Whip. They haven't said anything, other than to mention that some sort of "vermin" is in the cornfield. I guess I'll get a chance to see for myself when I go out tomorrow to get the last of our summer corn. I want to look for some squash and apples, too. Time to start canning for the colder months. And god knows, I need to get out in the sunshine for a little while.
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:08 AM   #4402
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*comes in through yet another secret door, dirty, smelling of exertion, and nearly out of ammunition. The rifle's magazine is dropped to clatter on the floor, the action is cleared and the round from the chamber makes metallic noises as it rolls across the steps, and the sling is simply dropped as the rifle itself falls unceremoniously to the ground.

Torn clothes, dirt smudged face, and muddy boots give the message that I have been out all day, looking for something...and perhaps getting too close to it.

Exhausted, I simply lean against the wall and slide down it to sit on the floor. In seconds, I am asleep.*
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:11 PM   #4403
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*Wakes up, wipes drool from lip, and climbs slowly, achingly to his feet. Everything is sore. "Maybe a shower will help," he thinks. After looking around and getting his bearings--and realizing that he has slept on the cold concrete of the hallway's floor--he begins walking towards the communal shower area and shedding clothes as he goes...*
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:42 AM   #4404
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I'm half way through a scrubdown when Dave stumbles into the shower room. He looks, quite frankly, like shit. I drop the scrub brush I've been using to wrench filth from under my fingernails and move to support him/

"Hey, take it easy."

He's soon settled on a sturdy plastic stool under one of the other showerheads, groggily scrubbing himself with a poof. I turn my shower back on and dig into the skin beneath my left thumb.

"What'd happened to you, Dave? You've been gone a while."
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:58 PM   #4405
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Coming back in after a long few days out and about, pausing when I'm in clear view to hold my now-empty pistol above my head, the slide still locked back. Seeing a flash of scope, and waiting a second to see if it'll be followed by the last flash I'll ever see, then knowing I've been seen and allowed to proceed, I head in. I lay out all of my empty weapons and magazines......suppressed M1A - 5 empty magazines. Dual 1911's - 12 total empties. Backup .357 - empty, and 4 empty speedloaders. It's been a busy few days.

I quickly strip and clean the guns, putting them back together and oiling sparingly where oil is needed. I reload all of the magazines and put my kit right for the next time I have to walk out the door. After too many years to count of taking care of weapon...gear...body....food...sleep, in that order and never deviating, it happens without a thought. Guns and kit set straight, I take the katana out of its scabbard and wipe it down slowly, almost reverently. I knew when Connor left it for me it'd be the real deal, and the last few days'.......adventure.....proved me correct. Something about the mark at the hasp catches my eye, but it's too late and I'm too damn tired to try deciphering the kanji.

I step into the shower, mind wandering back to the last trip outside the safety of the bunker as I scrub down slowly, letting warm water wash away the grime and blood, wishing it would take the memories with it.

I'd noticed Dave was.....off, and it had everyone worried. Whip was doing a good job holding him together, but something out *there* clearly had him rattled. I'm not a shrink, and quite frankly suck at talking things out, but I can solve problems. Dave had a problem. It was outside. Solution outbound....
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:05 PM   #4406
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I'd done a slow circle of the immediate square miles surrounding the bunker. I found nothing especially disturbing; a few deadheads I dispatched almost as an afterthought, but no signs of anything more sinister than the typical problems of living in a world ruled by the undead. I'd almost chuckled, out there, when that thought occurred to me, but held noise discipline.

It was the cornfield, which seemed to be the focus of Dave's worry, where the fun REALLY started. I found a good spot to sit and.....be. I settled my body, then took the necessary time to settle my mind, then observed. I ceased to look, and began to see. I ceased to listen, and began to hear. I ceased to smell, and began to breathe. These lessons were perhaps the toughest to learn, way back in my formative days as a warrior.

"Don't look, asshole, SEE" was a refrain I heard more times than I care to count, in between forced readings, and rereadings, and rerereadings, of the words of the first warriors. Sun, Lao, Musashi, Yamamoto....Jesus, but that guy had an Asian fetish when it came to fighting. "Doing by not-doing" - took me almost a decade to truly understand.

My reverie, going on deep in my self while my outer senses took in the world I'd successfully joined, was finally broken. Something coming. I stayed empty. A LOT of somethings. OK....let's see if this is Dave's bogeyman.

Coming in a group......shuffling unsteadily.....stinking to high heaven......a pack of deadheads. After sensing for a few more moments, I picked up the M1A and loosed a magazine's worth of carefully placed shots, figuring on maybe 6-7 kills from the fussilade, the sounds of bodies dropping and the remainder shuffling even more unevenly telling me my gun had been guided true by my ears. Now less that ten, time to get up close and personal.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:11 PM   #4407
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Moving to flank the pack, I picked something else up. Something moving out there - something not deadhead but not quite human, and DEFINITELY not animal.

Fine. Please be so courteous as to give me a few moments to clean up this pack, and then we'll see what you are.

Flank, close, attack, clear. I'd left 5 standing after the original magazine from the M1A. Took both 1911's to clear the group - my longer range pistolwork needs some fine tuning, it appears. 11 misses at 40 yards - unacceptable. I moved forward, reloading without even being aware of it, the movements as natural as breathing at this point.

Standing among the group, looking down at them, something looked off. As I tried to place it, every goddamn one of them stood up and came at me, their steady, implacable pace maddening. I put them back down. At conversational range I had no issues with headshots, first shot, every shot.

But still. What. The. Fuck.

Reload again......this is bullshit. I drew the katana, and cut each head in half, lopping them off just above the eyebrows. That oughta do it.

Then all hell broke loose.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:18 PM   #4408
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Shuffling, grasping, coming and coming. It looked like every fuckin' deadhead we'd dropped in this field had stood up and was coming. Standing in a natural circle, the stalks laid flat by the bodies I'd already dropped, it was the perfect "bull in the ring" fight scenario........except none of these bastards were wearing pads, and I was running low on ammo.

Front sight...press......front sight....press.....front sight....press....over and over, until there were no more mags for the 1911s. Then the wheel, empty it, shake them out, reload, front sight...press....only six at a pop for that one. Then just the katana, the rifle too long for this fight.

Felt like hours. Probably took ten minutes. Fuck ME that was a lot of them.

My head snapped up and around. The not-human-not-deadhead-not-animal sound again, this time behind me. I couldn't see it, but the sound....the way it moved....was wrong. Definitely a biped, but not moving like any human. Too certain, though, to be a deadhead.

Fuck this shit. Brought the M1A around, emptied four mags at/into it. Heard more bullets hitting flesh than not. It stopped, and headed the other way.

What. The. Fuck.

I moved to flank, knowing I was still faster than it was. Got ahead of it, willed my heartbeat to slow, my breathing to quiet. It was coming right for me, and I had the drop. It stopped. Just stopped.

I moved forward. Direct to contact, the worst goddamn way to fight but this was pissing me off. And passed right through where it should have been. No WAY it got around me. It hadn't retreated. It was just....gone.

What. The. Fuck.

Time to head back. Refit. Rearm. Rest. Feed. Repeat.

I'm coming back out, fucker. Be ready. We have a date.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:47 PM   #4409
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Stepping out of the shower and toweling dry, my mind cleared by the resolution to hunt whatever....IT....is down and have a good old-fashioned reckoning, I decide to play this one intelligently. There's no rush, whatever IT is, IT is either enjoying the game (if IT has enough intellect for such a thing) or is biding ITs time.

A few good meals strung together. A few drinks here and there. Perhaps a NNDP or two. Get my body rested, get my mind cleared, work out the physical and mental knots.

Hunting, closing with, and fighting this thing, it'll take all I have, somehow I already know that. I need to be 100%.

IT can wait.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:33 AM   #4410
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*A raging, angry noise of vibrating fury reverberates through the bunker...it's a noise that down below in the safety of all that rebar and concrete you just feel instead of really hear. Fillings in teeth develop a vibration that sets up a frequency that nags and tugs at the mind. It's as if the walls are moving slightly with the vibration.

The sound continues, not slowing, not changing. People come out of their dorm rooms and look at each other in questioning glances that ask, "Is this it? Is it time to get the rifle and man the upper battlements?"

For those who are seriously curious, who don camo BDU's and pick up AR's, AK's, P90's, or Para's and run to strengthen the defenses; for those who hurry to the security center and close circuits on outside lights and peer into monitors that can see every inch of the territory around the bunker; and for those who rush to prepare medical supplies in anticipation of receiving casualties or set out food expecting to comfort hungry or tired warriors, this is a fear filled time. The noise is unrelenting.


Follow the noise. Stride the long corridors on the double with your rifle and spare magazines. Run up the long ramps or climb the stairs towards the cool, clean air of the night. The noise gets louder the higher you climb. Raise the firearm to the ready position and resolve to take on all comers, no matter what the danger, no care for the final cost. Thumb the safety to the fire position and take up the trigger's slack as you continue to approach the louder and louder humming. Check your six, ensure that your battle buddy has a chance to cover you, and give him or her the look that says, "Whatever is on the other side of this door, whatever is going on...I'm not going to leave you. We're in this together. Ready?"

And as the noise and its frequency reach a point where you begin to think that this is a full on assault that will test the resolve of all those around you, pour through the door to the bunker's roof and begin clearing the area in the quadrants like you were trained. Follow the noise.

In the corner of the bunker, laughing manically, I am holding the trigger down on a pintle mounted GE minigun and walking the rounds all over the distant cornfield. The gattling gun has been pouring out hot lead for so long that it is smoking, in danger of failure--and a catastrophic one at that. The cornfield to the west has a bare patch twelve feet wide receding into the far distance, the stalks decimated by the continuous barrage of metal being sent in that direction. A massive box of linked ammo is nearby, its long string of bullets jerking and moving violently as it feeds into the flexible rack that "straightens" it before being fed precisely to a barrel that is ready to loose it down range.

My laughter can be heard above the continuous roar of the gun. Is there something out there? Doesn't matter, I intend to destroy it, or destroy my precious chaingun hunting it down with thousands of surplus rounds of mil-spec ammo.

"I see you!" I scream over the roar of the gun. The barrels pivot wildly as I traverse and elevate the gun all over the cornfield. "You're not getting us! You're not getting ME!"

The last of the ammo is fired, the box is empty, and the last of the links rains down to land on the pile with a metallic tinkle. And finally, there are only two sounds left to disturb the night; the continually whirring buzz of the electrically driven gattling gun and the crazy laughing coming from my mouth.*
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:46 AM   #4411
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I slip up behind Dave, not wishing to attract his attention. He's clearly gone totally off his rocker now. SAYING there was something out there was fine, but going after it and carelessly risking our crops and livestock? Not so much. One way or another, he has to be stopped. So I've been following him as he rampages, my only weapon four syringes with needlecaps tucked in a pocket. I know this is risky, he's clearly deranged. But it's better if I take him down like this. Nice and safe, well away from the others. And though I know it's foolish, I think maybe, MAYBE he won't attack me.

I get my chance when he stumbles over a rock. I rush forwards, pin him to the ground, then retrieve a needle from the cartridge in my pocket. Biting off the cap, I swiftly plunge it into his rear and push down the plunger. He bucks and shrieks, as is to be expected. What I don't expect is his empty gun swinging around to smash into my face. Understandably, I scuttle backwards clutching my face. My hands quickly go hot and wet. Shit, now I'm bleeding. The blood makes it hard to grip the talk button on the radio, but when I do manage to get it off mute my voice is thick and groggy.

" I'm gonna need help out here... Dave got the drugs he's not going down.... and I'm gonna need help myself."
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:32 AM   #4412
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*The ground rushes up at me and it feels like a tiger has leaped onto my back. Something stabs me in the butt and the surprise is worse than the pain. I howl in frustration at whatever it is.

Turning, I drive the butt stock of my shoulder slung rifle towards where the head should be. Whatever it is, it should get a good smash to the face which may buy me enough time to escape or fight back. My mind is going numb, but the blur of the black rifle rushes past my face.

My last two thoughts--before blacking out--are that I cannot believe that whatever 'it' is, has survived my attempted slaughter in the fallow cornfield. And finally, just as the rifle strikes the attacker, I realize that it is the beautiful face of my dear friend. The darling girl whose heart is true, wanting only to help, to work, and secretly, to protect me. The sickening crunch is the last sound I hear as my sorrow at hurting her combines with whatever was in the needle and only blackness is my companion now. Sinking, falling, abject and utter dark...*
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:06 PM   #4413
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Walking out to help Whip bring Dave back in, shaking my head in resignation, I decide enough is enough. I watched the whole scene unfold, cringing at the waste of ammo but letting Dave's spell play out for the moment; he was too crazed to reason with. But Whip, bless her heart, is loyal and protective to a fault - and it cost her this time.

"Help me bring him in. We're going to the control room."

We truss him up, torso, arms and legs bound securely to a solid seat, and get him in front of the monitors.

I give Whip a quick but thorough look. "You're lucky - I don't know how, but he didn't even break your nose. A frenzy like that, I'd expect a LOT of fractures. You're gonna be sore, feel stuffed up and probably have a pair of irish sunglasses for a couple of weeks though," I chuckle at the end.

I hand her a radio - "I'll be outside. Keep the cameras on me, and break squelch twice when he's awake and coherent. Tell him to watch. This ends today."

I go back to my room and strip down to just pants and boots, and walk out with the katana and a Mossberg 500 - one shell only. I stand in the courtyard, shirtless and minimally armed, waiting for the signal. Standing stock still and empty, letting the environment tell its tale to me in all five senses.

As I suspected, there is fuck all alive out there.....or even dead and still moving. I'd figured out what was playing with my mind, and twisting Dave's. It was all on the monitors, the recordings. I'll show THOSE to him after the little demonstration I have planned.

I wait for Whip's signal.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:15 PM   #4414
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Left alone in the control room, I stagger over to the sink and splash water over my face. Fuck, even that hurts. The rifle butt hit me right below the right cheekbone, a tiny cut where something protruding went through the skin. Animal was right, I will have at least one magnificently black eye. More water, the cold helps a little. Looking in the mirror, I see a smattering of scrapes and deep bruises formerly hidden by dirt. A few blood vessels in my eye have burst, adding to my unusual appearance. Great.

Behind me, Dave's still out cold. I decided to use the long-lasting kind of sedative, and by my calculations, he'll keep being out for around 8 hours. I'd better call Animal and tell him to get back in here.

" He's going to be out for a while. Come in where its warm and get fully dressed."

My voice sounds funny, all flat and a bit too low. I have to hide the urge to giggle.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:58 AM   #4415
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*On one of the monitors, up in the corner and barely noticeable, is a speck, and anomaly that most wouldn't catch unless they were looking for it.

But if one were to notice that dark spot on that one monitor in this darkened room of over forty monitors they might examine it more closely. Might isolate that one monitor and move its picture over to the really large plasma monitor that shows great detail. They might even move to the zoom feature and try to expand the picture in that area where the figure stands upright and alone in the corn.

Once zoomed in properly--for it is still quite far away--they might see something that would shake their confidence as it has done mine. Might wonder, "What in the blazes is happening out there?" Might make them expend time, energy, and ammunition trying to make it go away...before their fears are realized.

And centered in that screen they might see a raggedy scare crow, mounted on a post just like scare crows are supposed to be, dressed in a worn out flannel shirt and a faded pair of overalls just like scare crows are supposed to be, and stuffed with straw which protrudes from every cuff and button hole...just like scare crows are supposed to be.


But for a head, this one has a pumpkin. Lit from within, it is cut into an evil, leering jack o'lantern.*
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:12 PM   #4416
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Hearing the radio, and knowing the good intentions behind it, I still shake my head. It's getting colder outside, sure, but in times like this one need only to choose not to be cold. There are more important considerations. I key the mike:

"I'm out here until this finishes. It's part of the game. Radio silence from here our - record if you have to , but make sure he witnesses this somehow."

At around an hour before sunrise, when peoples' normal circadian rhythms are at their lowest ebb, I perform a set of mental exercises to wake all the way up, and slowly work my way through my musculature, flexing and relaxing, forcing the blood to flow through all the major groups. It warms me up a bit, and prepares me for what I know is coming.

Finally, sitting empty and waiting, I hear it. A light, boyish laugh, echoing through the cornfield, impossible to locate by sound alone. He knows I'm outside, and is ready.

Good. Time to get it over with.

I stand, pick up the Mossberg, and rack the single buckshot shell into it, letting loose in the general direction of the sound. I know it's not going to hit, but the rolling boom of the 3" shell is loud enough in the predawn stillness to startle a corpse.

I smile grimly at my own wit for a moment...."startle a corpse." Heh. Then I call out.

"OK Connor. You wanted this, you've got it. That was the only round for the only gun I brought out. Now it's just us. I'm coming with the gift you brought me. Be ready."

I walk into the cornrows, knowing they're closing behind me and cutting off any chance of seeing me with the cameras, but also knowing they'll be glued to the screen.

I hope it doesn't take so long they come out looking for me. That would end badly.

I hope it's me they see coming back out of the cornrows.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #4417
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*On the monitor...the scare crow appears to move...

....lifts one arm in a jerky movement, and reaches behind itself, as if trying to figure out what is securing it to the four by four post stuck in the ground...

...miraculously, it lifts its other arm, moving as if recovering from a broken arm, and clutches at something behind its neck...

...free of whatever secured it to the post, it falls to the ground in a tangled heap, and lies still...

...and for an instant, those watching have that moment where they wonder if they imagined the movement, if the scare crow simply fell down....



....and to their horror, the scare crow moves again, climbs shakily to its feet, and begins moving jerkily through the rows of corn...*
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:45 AM   #4418
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* grips the radio, trying to maintain some semblance of calm*

Its coming! Get ready to kill it!
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:56 PM   #4419
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...on the monitor, a head comes sailing over the corn to land in the courtyard, describing the perfect parabolic arc of a kicked football. I walk out moments later, two katana crossed above my head as a signal I'm alive and still human. Limping, with visible bandages tied tight around my right leg and left arm, I get a few yards onto the open sand and stop, laying the two katana down and reaching into the cargo pockets of my now-tattered pants. In one I hold the radio, in another I hold a smaller black box. I key the mike....

"It's done. He's gone, and so is our problem. Watch carefully."


I leave the mike keyed by wrapping a piece of cloth torn from a pant leg around it, and place it on the ground. I stand and turn to face the corn, lifting the second black box and pointing it almost like a television remote. Five zombies come shuffling out, their movements appearing somehow more.....sure....than what we've grown accustomed to. I let them get within five feet of me, and press the second button on the box. They immediately crumple.

I pick up one of the katana, and casually go from zombie to zombie, beheading the corpses. Then I reach down to one of the heads and turn it facedown, grasping something at the base of the skull and, with my foot holding the head in place, yank it out with a grunt. It's a small box with what appears to be two spikes sticking out of it, gory with the deadhead's brain matter.

"He turned them into fucking remote control TOYS. He figured how how to transmit just enough of a charge to keep them moving even when you perforated their brain. The only way to stop them is to decapitate them or a lucky shot that takes out the 'power pack.'"

I press the top button on the box, and a visible arc of electricity jumps between the two gory spikes. I toss it aside and throw down the controller. With a savage snarl I stomp on it, obliterating it and any threat of future "re-re-animations."

I walk to the head I'd punted out of the corn. I hold it aloft by the hair, looking into the now lifeless eyes, shaking my head at the last expression he ever wore, a final sneer of defiance. I mutter "fuck you, Connor, you sick fuck. That much skill and you use it for THIS."

I turn and punt the head back into the corn. "Rot. You can finally do some good - fertilize our crops."

I pick the radio up, not sure if my words to the head were loud enough to be picked up.

"He dug. He dug, and waited, and pre-staged his own remote control army. He got bored - that was the scarecrows. He'd put them up, then turn them on, then shut them down and pull them under when we'd get close. I don't know how big his bunker was - don't go looking for it. It's sure to be rigged with all 31 flavors of nasty surprises, we'll need everyone at the top of their game for that task. I'm definitely not there. Now if it's ok, I'm gonna take a little break for a minute or two...."

With that I unkey the mike, looking down at the fresh wounds the cocksucker inflicted with his (now my) katana. I take a step toward the entrance, dropping to a knee, shaking my head and holding it at an angle as dizziness rushes up. The world tilts to the side without warning, and then jumps up to greet me. I see enough of the horizon, now close, to know I'm laying on my side, and then the world goes dark and quiet.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:39 PM   #4420
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I awake in the infirmary, again. "I think if the ladies are going to keep putting me in here, then I might as well just make this my room," I muse aloud.

"Ellla!?! Whip?!? Ladies, I am awake. I'm hungry. And I seem to be...restrained? What the hell!?!?!!?"

I struggle for a moment and then realize that I'll never get out of the restraints and further, that I am not alone in the small hospital bay. The Animal Within is across the room, with a large bandage around his leg, and he appears to be awake.

"Hey...are you awake? Are you ok? What the hell happened? And why are you here? I thought you were invincible...what could hurt you? Hey, and if you're not tied down--which you don't appear to be--could you help me out? I've got that familiar itch that I get when I am healing from a wound and I'm sure that I'm in near tip top shape. Help a brother out, wouldja?"
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:52 PM   #4421
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My eyes flutter almost open for a second, and everything is white. I don't know where I am, but it feels safe. My head turns......let's be honest, falls, and I see a blurry version of Dave. He seems confused, a touch agitated, and has his salesman face on, the one he uses when he convinces us to let him try something new.

I try to laugh, but it hurts. BAD, and worse - it hurts in the middle. Motherfucker......it wasn't just the extremities. Did that bastard damage anything vital? The fight was fast and hard, but I thought he only caught an arm and leg. The pain when I breathe tells me otherwise. Fuck.

I attempt to lock eyes with Dave, and speak clearly, but with all this damned white light and the fuzz in my head and the distinct feeling I *should* be feeling pain but maybe it's in someone else's body (opiates?), I can't be sure.

"I killed your bogeyman. He was mine too. Rest. We're safe. Did they bring my katana in?"

White turns grey, turns black, and I sleep.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:29 PM   #4422
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I am making my rounds, doing what I can to tidy up the bunker and make sure everything, and everyone, is where they belong. I start by checking on Whip. She has been recovering nicely, although she still has a colorful bruise decorating her upper cheekbone, and she still can't quite get her eye open all the way. I have been trying to make sure I have plenty of easy-to-chew foods around, because I'm afraid her upper jaw may have been injured, too. Trying to keep her from traipsing around the cornfield by herself has been a challenge the past few days, but I have managed to convince her to remain inside where I can keep an eye on her while she recovers. Always the mother hen...

I peek into the infirmary, unsure if I really heard voices or not coming from the battle-weary, bleary eyed warriors that are currently occupying two of the beds. Poor Dave still seems disoriented and groggy, but his wounds are healing remarkably quickly. Something about him is different; he seems to heal in no time, even without constant medical attention. Almost as if by...I stop that thought, still puzzled by how he healed me from my scratches when I first came to the bunker. I begin to slowly examine his arms, his chest, his neck, my hands moving slowly over his flushed skin....and I can find no sign of injury. Not one.
As my hands move lightly down his chest and to his abdomen, Dave moans. I realize too late that, in his semi-conscious state, I may be causing some other kind of physical reaction. I take away my hands, and he tries to reach for me, murmuring "Whip." It makes me smile, seeing how he still calls for her, even in his delerium. Such devotion.

I make a quick check of his feet and legs, and still cannot find a single injury. I am debating whether or not to take off the restraints when Dave clearly says, "Ella." I glance up and he is wide awake, eyes sparkling, no sign of confusion.

"Welcome back," I whisper, and I undo the belts holding him to the gurney. "Are you hungry? I'll make you anything you want to eat. Except cornbread." I smile shyly at him, wondering if he realizes it was my hands that were on him.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:48 PM   #4423
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I turn my attention to The Animal, who looks like he's been used for target practice by a sword thrower. His arm and one leg are deeply wounded, and I have been keeping him heavily sedated. He's so much bigger and stronger than I am, and I don't want to end up having him turn on me the way Dave wailed onto Whip. I am worried about the wounds I can't see; I inadvertently touched his stomach while changing his bandages yesterday morning, and his body spasmed as if I had touched him with fire. I don't know how to check for internal injuries; this is new territory for me.

He talks in his sleep. He keeps asking about his "katana." Such a pretty word for such a wicked weapon. There were two of them by his side when we found him. I took them and carefully cleaned all the blood off them, and locked them up. I'm not sure I want to give them back to him anytime soon. I don't think I'll tell anyone where they are for the time being. It may be the only way to keep our Animal from wandering away from us for awhile. He needs to heal. He needs to rest. And I need to figure out why suddenly it sounds like he is struggling for every single breath ... sh*t, I need help.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:40 AM   #4424
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As the sedation wears off the pain increases, but it also gives me better clues to what is wrong. I turn inward, focusing hard on every supernova of white-hot pain exploding inside of me, radiating outward. I ignore for the time being the outward halos and bear down hard on the center of each spot.

Arm.....cut. Deep, but not arterial.

Leg....same. Definitely muscle damage, possibly a slice into the bone. No damn idea how he missed any of the main tunnels there. I might just have a limp for the rest of my life.....however long that is.

And on that note...the core. Two ribs broken minimum....and yep. This is bad. I think, struggling mightily not to laugh at myself as that could well be the last thing I do, that I brought this on myself. That last kick...punting his head back into the corn...had to be a badass. Moved the broken end. Punctured the pleura. Saw a lot of this with IEDs, a thousand lifetimes ago. The blast wave, scrambling young mens' insides. I did it to myself. Figures.

My head falls to the right, and I see Ella and Dave, who looks surprisingly spry since the last time I saw him. How long have I been out? Can't be long given this injury...if it was long enough for honest healing I'd be dead already. What's with that guy?

Focus.

I try to make my voice heard. "Tension pneumothorax. Chest tube. Gotta let the pressure out. Lung's collapsing. Broken rib. Set it once I can breath again."

I'm not a religious man, but I offer a silent version of a prayer. If Ares is listening, as he's the only God likely to acknowledge me, please let my words not have sounded like "Tennnnssssnnneeeemo. Sheeetub. Prrrrreeeessssooooot. Lnnnnnnass. Bikkkkenrib. Setkinbreeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

Once again, red spots of pain go white supernova, white light turns grey, grey turns black, and the world fades behind my eyelids.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:21 PM   #4425
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I watch as Ella jumps into action, attending to my room mate. Fascinating how efficient she is with the medical stuff. But then, all the ladies with training in that field have made themselves very useful here on that score and worked to train each other on the skills that they didn't have. We've got a qualified team for scrapes, cuts, and whatever the hell took big wet bites out of The Animal.

He is soon sedated and she continues to work on him. I stand and look myself over. I appear to be ship shape. And ready to go.

"Oh shit," I think to myself, "I need to go apologize to Whip."

Animal is in good hands...I'm off to look for the diminutive girl with the heart of a lion and hope she forgives me.
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