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Old 10-03-2012, 01:32 AM   #4426
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I desperatey try to alleviate the pain that Animal is feeling...trying to remember everything I have learned about how to insert a chest tube. I don't realize that I am praying out loud, pleading to every god and Wiccan Goddess I can think of to guide my hands and heal this man. I take a deep breath, and press the tube into this weak man...and as I hold my breath, he draws one in. His hand flies up and grabs my wrist, almost stopping my circulation with his firm grip...and then he calms and settles, breathing in a steady rhythm. I am shaken, but relieved as I watch the Animal's chest rise and fall.

I hear Dave leave the infirmary, and I worry that he will leave the bunker again. I hope he stays indoors for at least a few more days.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:26 PM   #4427
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With no medical training at all, I quickly lose interest. I have no doubt that he is in good hands and for that matter, he's a big ol' boy as we say down here in the south. Or used to say.

Man, I feel great. I decide to look around, and if I can find Whip, all the better. Gotta see if she's in good shape after whatever happened in the corn while I was incapacitated. And then, get some food.

In the kitchen area, I find the makings to put together some sandwiches. Ham, turkey, and and beef. Mmmm, I make several of each and liberally apply my favorite condiments. I'm surprised to find fresh dill pickle spears and quickly, I've got a feast. I'm famished.

Now to find Whip. I bet she's in the motor pool. Or her room. Or the common area.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:16 PM   #4428
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I'm dreaming. In my dream I'm wearing an Armani suit and fighting a sumo wrestler. He's kicking my ass.....I'm on my back and he has his full weight on me, my arms pinned, crushing the air out of my lungs.

I know it's a dream, because please - you wear Brooks Brothers to fight sumo wrestlers. Armani - that's just silly.

I know it's a dream, but the pain, the struggle for breath, it feels real. Another hand appears, in the side of my vision, and slowly slides a wickedly sharp blade between my ribs. I grab the wrist trying to push the blade into my heart...

And the sumo wrestler flies off me. The blade was actually a needle, pumping air into my lungs so suddenly he was launched like he was in a bounce house.

My eyes flutter open, and I see Ella standing over me, and I realize it's her wrist I've grabbed. I also somehow know it was her who gave me my breath back. I meet her eyes, too weak to speak, hoping the gratitude is visible.

The world goes grey again, and I sleep.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #4429
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Completely oblivious to the drama of Animal's fight for life and whistling like a teenager without a care in the world, I wander the bunker, looking for friends.

It's been quiet. So many have come and gone. Lost on patrol, left with friends to start anew somewhere else, or simply "status unknown". So many friends, so many faces. I get it; this brand of entertainment isn't for everyone. "Come and go as you please," I said. I love them all, all the friends that came and made a home, however briefly. My own absences have most likely been disconcerting to them, my moods unexplainable, my secrets...hopefully kept. But the responsibility...

Do my best to keep them safe. Always.

And sometimes their safety has been in not knowing what dangers lurk. Not knowing where the black car goes when it leaves. Not knowing what it's bringing back...nor where it's been. It's cargo a secret, my destinations hidden, my troubles not shared.

I can't wish they'd come back, that would be selfish. They're following their own muses, hearing their own pipers, and seeking their own joys. I understand that communal living with a bunch of drinking, laughing, dancing, naked nutcases isn't for everyone. Fighting as a team, as a family and loving each other in a world devoid of any feeling but pain, isn't everyone's cup of tea.

But certainly there are other survivors out there. Other ladies (OK, and some men that probably aren't as big of an asshat as the one who shall not be named) are certainly desirous of protection, safety, warmth, friendship, and contact with others. Time to find them.


Twenty minutes after leaving the kitchen with my sandwiches, the Interceptor creeps again, slowly into the inky black night. A light mist is falling and the headlights make twin beams of illumination in front of the Ford. "Pulling your Mad Max routine again, Dave?" I say to myself as I imagine Ella or Whip asking what I think I'm doing.

The armored metal door closes behind me as the oil pressure light comes on. I tap the gauge and the light goes out and returns to normal. The rumble of the big V8 suddenly rends the night's silence and the Falcon lurches forward. Off on another adventure. Off to explore. Off to find those survivors who are naked and alone amongst the undead hordes who want to eat them. Off to rescue them and bring them home and clean them up and put food and drink into them in a romantic manner before dancing like idiots at the Nightly Naked Dance Party.

"Certainly, this car can hold four or five ladies if I can just find them..."
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:49 PM   #4430
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The two men are hurt badly, very badly, in the fight against whatever-the-hell was out there. I do my best alongside Ella, sewing and bandaging and checking vitals. Slowly, slowly the guys start to look better. Dave's the first to get up, though he's very weak and can barely manage light maintenance on the guns. I don't waste energy thinking about why he can manage regular life while Animal's still flat on his back taking morphine like there's no tomorrow. I'm going to have to do something about that. But for now I focus on rehabbing Dave. We work on the guns, starting with only the coarsest motions and moving towards the more fiddly ones as he gets better. I think I'll do what needs to be done on the tank on my own. Can't trust him while he's like this.

My own injuries are healing too. Dave really clocked me on the face out there. A few teeth are loose, and Ella made a considerable show of reacting to my black eye and bruised face. But time heals all wounds, and I've just gotten to the point where I can keep my eye open all day.

Life in the bunker carries on as close to usual as it ever can for our ragtag band of survivors.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:25 AM   #4431
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Finally feeling almost human, I close off the morphine feed - wouldn't do to let myself get addicted under the best of circumstances, let alone the current reality. I give myself a cursory look-over and an internal check - the ladies, Ella especially, have done an amazing job not just saving my life but setting the conditions for me to perhaps be whole again.

I'm going to need a lot of rehab, especially on the leg, and plenty of slowly, carefully ramped up metabolic conditioning with an eye toward getting both lungs even again. I'll have to check the library for any medical texts, I'm not even 100% sure myself what the proper rehab is after a pneumothorax.

I unstrap the various apparatuses keeping me in the bed and slowly, VERY carefully, get up and bring the IV tower with me, keeping a hand on a stool for balance until I can locate a crutch. I move like I'm 138 years old and just got beaten down. I locate an adjustable titanium crutch and set it to my height. I'll have to remember to compliment Dave on his very thorough stocking of this bunker in all respects.

I move slowly, oh so slowly, down the hall in search of my fellow occupants and an update on what's been happening since I've been out.....starting with how LONG I've been out. Time was, at best, a very fuzzy concept during the initial fight for lift and subsequent drug fog. The condition of my wounds indicates a couple of weeks or so, but I can't be sure.

I head for the multipurpose room, hoping to find a Nightly Naked Dance Party going on, not that I have any intention of trying to join THAT particular bacchanal.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:41 AM   #4432
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(It's been a while...)

Seems like I've been hiding myself away too long. I feel guilty the girls have been coping with all the medical stuff without my help, for what it's worth.

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Old 10-15-2012, 01:19 PM   #4433
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Quote:
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(It's been a while...)

Seems like I've been hiding myself away too long. I feel guilty the girls have been coping with all the medical stuff without my help, for what it's worth.

Well, git your arse in here and have a drink with me then!!!
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:08 PM   #4434
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Well, git your arse in here and have a drink with me then!!!
I'll have a large gin.....what you having?
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:02 PM   #4435
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I'll have a large gin.....what you having?
I think I'm going with a Death in the Afternoon...absinthe & champagne. I'm feeling a little dangerous!
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:51 AM   #4436
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The black Ford rumbles to a stop, vibrates violently, and stalls. Out of gas.

Someone in this area has been hoarding the fuel. I haven't found a drop in the tanks of the abandoned cars on the road for almost three miles. I saw no sign of this shortage of fuel coming, save for the hole in the lowest part of the fuel cell under every vehicle I crawled under. And if someone has been emptying the tanks of these cars, then someone has a plan for that fuel. Survivors living similarly nearby? Marauders out hunting? Travelers, simply trying to get somewhere? Who knows?

But in any case, the Falcon is quiet now and I see no prospect of fueling it easily and continuing my journey. I remove an old military fuel can from the trunk of the car, a gallon of water from the back seat, and a hat to keep the still blazing Florida sun off of my face. I reach down under the dash and flip a hidden switch that arms a fuse.

Standing, I look around and see no movement. Birds are the only sound. I drop two spare magazines, several flash-bang grenades, and four packs of peanut butter-cheese crackers into a shoulder bag and sling my AUG Para carbine across my chest. "Where the fuck am I?" I ask no one.

No one answers.

Well in any case, Tallahassee was an hour ago, but it's been slow going with the "congestion" on the road. There are abandoned cars everywhere, some filled with the dead, some empty and obviously hastily abandoned.

A sign says "FL-71 MARIANNA 4 MILES"

Perhaps this pissant panhandle town has some cars that still have some fuel in them. After all, whoever has been siphoning them out on Interstate 10 might have stayed on the main east-west route and simply ignored towns that were too far off their path.

I consider rolling the former museum piece into the grass alongside the west bound lane of the highway, but then, who's going to steal it? It's not like it runs without fuel and it certainly isn't like a wrecker is going to come along and recover the vehicle just to get it out of the way of the traffic.

I start laughing at nothing...and everything.

Is being alone getting to me? I've only been gone for a week. A slow north easterly trek along Florida's gulf coast, picking my way amongst burned out vehicles, almost empty towns, and hungry walkers has been...trying.


I scribble a note and put it on the dash.

"Headed into town. Need gas. Booby trap armed."
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:22 AM   #4437
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(wonders in my inebriated condition if I could get my "booby" caught in your trap...)

Hi, Dave!!
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:27 PM   #4438
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Quote:
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(wonders in my inebriated condition if I could get my "booby" caught in your trap...)

Hi, Dave!!
That would be a good trick.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:28 AM   #4439
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That would be a good trick.
Hugs

Hope all is well.

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Deep in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.

Put me on a ship that is sinking
On a voyage to an untamed land
Take away the freedoms I wanted
I understand

Put me inside flesh that is dying
A ghost that wanders without rest
Buried by desires and weakness
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:00 PM   #4440
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Hugs

Hope all is well.

All is well, in real life anyway. Thanks for letting me know that you're alive. I was wondering...

What about you?
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:42 PM   #4441
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As the buildings approaching the small town get more numerous, the potential for a trap gets larger and larger.

I watch windows, bushes, and cars for any sign of someone lurking, dead or otherwise. If there are survivors who have fortified this town, they may not take kindly to strangers looking for gasoline. I move as quietly as I can, slowly, cautiously. There is the stillness that only the dead know.

A light breeze blows from the west and surprisingly it is a clean smell. The dead have been dead long enough to no longer be rotting and stinking up the atmosphere. But there's something else; there don't seem to be any dead. Have they been removed?

I see no bodies, no trace, and no evidence of human remains anywhere, completely unlike every other small town I've seen.

As I approach the down town area, I see why. There is a school bus parked sideways across the road and obvious barriers on either side. Nobody will enter Marianna, FL unbidden. The bus is an easily moved fortified gate; I can see heads peering through several of the windows. It's too late.

I can't turn back. They've seen me. I can't approach with any kind of power; who knows how many weapons are trained on me?

I raise the rifle above my head and stand still, watching for movement. To my left, a man steps out of a house and never allows his sidearm to point anywhere but my head.

"Say something," he orders.

"Uh...hi?" He is not amused.

"'Making sure you ain't one of them...things," he says. "They can't talk."

I regard him motionlessly. I make no moves that will get a trigger finger to pull further and end me.

"Alright, let's have the rifle...and that pistol," he says. "We're going to see the mayor."

I hold the bullpup rifle by the stock end and gingerly hand it to him. The pistol comes out and is handed over just as carefully. Another man walks up behind me and takes my bag, tosses the gas can to the side, and frisks me.

"What? No kiss before the sex?" I ask.

And something strikes my head and the world goes black.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:06 AM   #4442
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In the exercise room, well equipped but too small to properly be called a "gym," I lay on my back breathing deeply, sweat soaking my shirt and forming it to my body. My chest heaves, as I stare upward into nothing and take internal stock. My recovery is progressing, and a touch faster than I'd hoped. The leg and arm still ache terribly, and the muscles in each are resisting my efforts to make them whole again, but that's to be expected. What has me optimistic is my lung function, after the first few humbling occurrences of collapsing out of breath after mere minutes of moderate exercise I've come along very promisingly.

After a long shower, manipulating the temperature from scalding to freezing and back again to force the blood to flow through my newly strained muscles, I head to the multipurpose room in search of updates. Dave has been gone awhile; this is nothing new but it's always good to keep track.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:30 AM   #4443
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I wake to a haze of confusion and antiseptic smells. I am tied down to a wheelchair and immobile.

A stringy haired weasel of a man sits in the corner watching me, holding my own rifle on me. He seems bored with the duty but sure that he is safe from me. I can't move, but he appears to be taking no chances.

"Safety's off, Max."

I am sure I appear confused.

"We found the car. Don't worry. We'll take care of it for you." He laughs dismissively as I strain against the rope holding me to the wheelchair.

There are two trays of dishes in the room. One that I assume was his meal and one that might have been mine...if someone hadn't eaten it. I immediately dislike this guy.

I can feel a sore spot on the back of my head and my hands and feet are nearly numb from where I am tied at the wrists and ankles. This douche bag has my rifle and seems to have eaten my dinner. I'm not enjoying this at all, but I bide my time.

I think I'll enjoy the hospitality until I get to meet the mayor. And then, I'm getting that car and rifle back.

And somebody better damned well feed me.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:53 AM   #4444
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After a few days of observation, they seem to have determined that I'm not a threat and I'm given an "escort" as I'm shown around the town. The weasel is gone; it was clear that we didn't get along and they probably determined that he and I might have a little friction.

Instead, my escort is a tall man with a stocky build. He has a black beard and surprisingly, looks like Ulysses S. Grant. And just like the former president, he looks like if he had to, he would knock down a brick wall with his head. I will probably not fool with this one. He carries a very old, but well maintained M16. Nothing fancy. Standard issue in the late sixties to every army grunt that picked up a rifle and served in a front line capacity.

Tom says that the town is fortified and lookouts on the water tower keep an eye out for trouble. Walkers are ignored unless a large group approaches and they are dealt with before their weight of numbers can overrun the walls and fences built around the town. If the cameras mounted on the cell towers and higher points of the wall detect movement, the lookouts are asked to train their binoculars on the problem area and see what a set of human eyes think. If it's something small, like a wandering human, a team goes out to investigate and see if it is someone that needs help or needs to be encouraged to move on. If it's a large group of "marauders," those looting and stealing from other survivors, the towns people try to stay out of site and hope they move on. If the group persists, everyone mobilizes. Everyone in town over the age of ten is issued a weapon, taught to use it, and is required to carry it.

"Sounds like Switzerland," I remark.

"Yeah, but we're not neutral," Tom replies. "Those that we determine to be a problem, get ended. Those that can add to our community, get invited. We work quickly to determine if you're on the good list and bring you in. If you make the naughty list, well, you don't want to be on the naughty list..."

The cars in town have all been removed; this is a walking society. I don't see one anywhere. It's probably too much work to keep scavenging gas and I determine that it might have been them that drained all the cars out on I-10. I wonder if they did it because they needed the fuel or because they wanted to encourage marauders to move on because of the lack of resources in the area. Around the downtown area and for a small outlying territory, there is a long wall. It's made up of quarried stone stacked like giant bricks and it stands twelve feet high. In key points, it is reinforced to be three or four layers thick. There are two "bus gates" in town; each constantly manned. Guards walk along the walls making sure through peep holes that nothing is approaching or threatening. Some stand and talk, others walk constantly. Good planning went into this defense system. I'm guessing that humans; dead or undead don't come into this community without permission.

Buildings are in good condition, the streets are clean, and people appear to be happy. I ask about powering all this and Tom tells me that the apartments and livable buildings are occupied. Allowing people to live in single family homes outside of town was a bad idea, both for safety and from the logistics perspective; supplying those homes with precious water and running electricity to them was deemed wasteful, "so we're all living in this little worker's paradise as the Mayor calls our little communal society." His comment about Castro's Cuba doesn't go unnoticed and he is quick to point out that it is only a joke.

They have been mindful of not creating a socialist society where everyone was assigned a job and resources were allocated. These people are doing jobs they have chosen. Those that work, eat. Those that didn't were invited to leave. Everyone understands their position and its importance in the society they've created and the monthly meetings of their "government" are attended by almost 100% of the population. Those guarding the town and those in the infirmary are excused, but everyone comes to talk and vote on small issues that effect their lives. He says that the town is flourishing because of the class of people who have chosen to stay. There have even been seven children born since the rest of the world fell apart; proof Tom says, that people feel secure and happy.

It seems idyllic. I considered something like this when gathering the materials to build the bunker but opted for something that was easier to defend, easier to hide, and easier to man. I wasn't sure if anybody would join me and the bunker was set up so that I could live there alone if need be. As people came along, it was easy to "open" more sections and free up space for people who wanted to stay. Here, however, it appears that no less than ten people are always on guard. Ten people whose labor is not spent on producing food or power to keep the town running. A tax on the rest of them when you get down to it.

There are parts of the downtown area that Tom purposely steers the tour away from however. It becomes a glaring omission in my mind and I wonder what secret they're harboring. And, why, if I've been deemed "not a threat" was I captured and brought here? Why do I need an escort?

Where's the car?

Why haven't I met the mayor yet?

And what is the secret that they're hiding?
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Last edited by Chaingun : 10-23-2012 at 11:00 AM.
 

Old 10-23-2012, 08:07 PM   #4445
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After dinner--a meal of venison, butternut squash, and Jell-O--I sit and talk with Tom and other members of the "Irregulars". I learn that the group is the fortified town's security detail. A man named Palmer is the leader of the group and he is interesting. Apparently, he is the one that led the team that captured me but also the one that decided I was safe enough to allow to move about. Four shifts of men (and more than a few women) work the grounds and walls making sure that the towns people remains safe or at least alerted to dangers before they approach.

Working six hour shifts, this group remains alert and active. The carry piece for every one of them is a "classic" M16 rifle. I figure they've chosen this weapon because of an abundance of them at a local National Guard armory and kept because of the easy interchangeability of the parts and ammo.

It's a good choice; it's a sturdy and dependable weapon. And has enough range to reach out to the distances that they probably need. Many members also carry the M92, the 9mm Baretta used by our armed forces.

The group is in good spirits and all seem to genuinely like each other. As the after dinner conversation winds down, a man comes by and clears the table. Cards are passed around and a game breaks out. Poker. I watch for a bit, pretending that my outsider status would make it awkward for me to play. Long after dark, Palmer stands, signaling an end to the game.

"I'm going to walk the fenceline. Anybody not coming, have a great night."

Two men stand and leave with him; I assume them to be his lieutenants. Once they are gone, a few of the women come and join us and the talk turns to simpler times and when things were a little easier. One lady misses her soap opera, another misses her old clothing, another her SUV, and two of them agree that hot and cold running water was really taken for granted. I listen and make the remark that "we're all Amish now."

The table falls silent and everybody looks at Amy, the one who misses her old clothing. "Um...I am a Mennonite..."

Everyone looks at me and I stammer an apology. Serious faces stare at me as I try to say I'm sorry for my insensitive remark about her religion.

As I'm struggling at it, she cracks a smile and eventually bursts into raging laughter. All of them follow suit and I questioningly look around. "I'm not a Mennonite," she says. "I'm a Methodist. I'm just messing with you, Sweetie."

"But I do miss a lot of stuff..."
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:57 PM   #4446
sereneone4u
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaingun View Post
All is well, in real life anyway. Thanks for letting me know that you're alive. I was wondering...

What about you?
Ugh, sorry!

Sometimes I have to go it alone and I forget to let people who matter know.

I am alive, fighting my own set of demon zombies.

I appreciate you and will do better to keep in touch.

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“Green wind from the green-gold branches, what is the song you bring?
What are all songs for me, now, who no more care to sing?
Deep in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.

Put me on a ship that is sinking
On a voyage to an untamed land
Take away the freedoms I wanted
I understand

Put me inside flesh that is dying
A ghost that wanders without rest
Buried by desires and weakness
I understand.
 

Old 10-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #4447
Chaingun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sereneone4u View Post
Ugh, sorry!

Sometimes I have to go it alone and I forget to let people who matter know.

I am alive, fighting my own set of demon zombies.

I appreciate you and will do better to keep in touch.


Your zombies will all fall before your royal bearing. How could anyone hope stand in the way of the princess? I know you'll win.

I am glad that you'll keep in touch.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:52 PM   #4448
TheAnimalWithin
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Finally feeling like I'm making actual progress in recovering and rebuilding, I head to the multipurpose room in search of conversation, of any kind of interaction. I'm also curious to hear if anyone has an idea of Dave's whereabouts.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:37 PM   #4449
Chaingun
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Deep in the bunker, in the radio room, various machines sit and blink quietly and unused. The lights flash indicating various maintenance functions, indications of status, or simply glow softly to let someone know that power is on. But nobody sees. Nobody has touched a com unit in over a month now.

An analog meter on one radio spikes and the unit lights up. A faraway voice crackles through static to an empty room.

"...bunker if you...ok. Clear for..." and then the voice fades and degrades into nothing but pops and electrical squeals as the unit tries to adjust for the distortion.

"...north Florida. The panhandle. I say again, I'm at..."

The voice gets slightly louder but not much clearer. Apparently this is the limit of how much the auto adjust feature can improve it.

"...not mount a rescue. Stay where you are if..."

The radio falls silent as a poorly printed transcript of the conversation scrolls out of a nearby printer and falls to the floor, curls as paper does when released from its tightly rolled packaging, and rolls under the printer stand.

Again the unit lights up as the analog meters bounce and jiggle in the yellow glow.

"...imminent danger. I say again, do not mount a rescue...inherently dangerous. Over."

After the printer spits out this new info it too falls to the floor and lies in plain site. And again the room falls back into the sleepy silence of technology from a world that has moved on.
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Last edited by Chaingun : 10-30-2012 at 02:57 PM.
 

Old 10-30-2012, 10:09 PM   #4450
Chaingun
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As the witching hour approaches All Hallow's Eve, the little town seems to have gone on full alert. I can feel the tension in the people around me. My thoughts are with my own home, my own friends. But this group is deserving of a chance to survive as well.

Thunder in the distance is the first indication that something is happening. It becomes clear that it is not thunder as it grows louder and louder. Men and some women run by with rifles, heading to positions on the walls and barricades around the town. Children old enough to help scurry about carrying ammo cans and water bottles.

The noise grows louder and on the west wall, a siren goes off. Spotlights light the area beyond the barriers and generators kick on to power them. My escort breaks off with a warning to behave as he heads to a post, checking his rifle as he runs. The noise gets louder.

A roll up garage door rumbles open at the nearby fire station and instead of red trucks, three Humvees roar out of the cavernous space. On top are M2 automatic weapons with helmeted men at the controls. They rush to the walls and take up positions for fire support.

As I stand watching, trying to stay out of the way, Palmer walks up as if there is nothing going on and he has all the time in the world. He hands me a red AUG para rifle; the custom job that I had when I arrived. "Don't disappoint me. Don't do anything stupid with this." After giving me the rifle, he passes me a satchel that has all my loaded magazines in it. I'm armed again.

And all hell breaks loose. Firing starts behind me and picks up all along the wall. Everyone is engaged so I climb a platform to see what is going on. And as far as I can see are walkers. Zombies are coming in the largest herd I've ever encountered. The disciplined fire of the town's residents is making mincemeat of them. Fire, aim, fire, aim, fire, aim...eventually a magazine drops out and a new on is placed in the well. The cycle starts again. I don't know if they can hold them off and I don't know if the walls will hold against the weight of that group of undead.

Stay and fight, or run?

I shoulder the rifle and begin dropping the disgusting, shambling horrors in the pale light beyond the town's walls.

"Happy Halloween, Fuckers!!!"
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Last edited by Chaingun : 10-31-2012 at 01:20 PM.
 
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