Chapter 1 - Entry 6

April 17th cont.

I gave Mary an hour to cry and process her new reality while I ate and checked out Felix’s rifle. It was a little .22, the kind used for target practice and varmint hunting. There were thirty rounds in his pockets so I decided to give Mary a lesson when a pair of zombies shuffled our way from around the strip mall’s corner. Nice thing about .22s is their lack of recoil and relatively quiet subsonic projectile speed. They were good for teaching the basics and even kids could handle their mild kick. After she’d managed to drop our two walking targets, I nodded towards the strip mall with my chin. “Let’s go shopping.”

There were four stores in the little mall; a Radio Shack, a Health Food store, a Salvation Army Goodwill outlet, and a nail salon. We hit the Radio Shack first, prying open the back door using the truck’s tire iron. It, like we’d soon discover with the other stores, was empty. We got busy looting.

The Goodwill offered us both new clothes, backpacks to hold extras and blankets to use as bedding. Radio Shack netted us flashlights, an adapter to run small electric loads off a car’s cigarette lighter, a hand held GPS, and rechargeable batteries. The Health Food store was a gold mine.

We could’ve survived for months on the food inside. Bottles of vitamins, power bars, high calorie powdered drink mixes, vitamin water and those chocolate shakes people drank instead of eating breakfast. Fortunately no one had thought to raid a health food store. I imagined the grocery stores were graveyards though as people scrambled to lay in supplies and became zombies who made other zombies who made yet more zombies. You get the picture.

“We should take as much as possible. Food and water will probably be scarce elsewhere.” I commented while pouring weight gain drink mix into a bottle of water.

“You told Felix you had a destination in mind. Where are we headed?”

“My girlfriend in prison belonged to a White Nationalist group. White Power. Aryan Nation. That sorta thing,” I began, watching her expression of surprise with a grin. “They’ve got a little compound north of Mystic. Probably doing ok. She made it sound like they had plenty of guns and just enough training to use em.”

Mary seemed at a loss of what question to ask first, given the trio of revelations I’d just made. I was surprised with the one she picked. “You’re a lesbian?”

I chuckled and shrugged. “Well everyone’s a lesbian in prison but I was strictly dickly before then. I guess I’m bisexual now.” A pause as she swallowed that down. Then the next questions erupted in rapid fire sequence.

“Are you a Nazi? Why were you in prison? What did you do? Did you kill someone? How’d you escape?” I laughed and lit a cigarette before handing over the pack. My hand waved towards the health food store’s back office where I’d seen a sofa, desk and chair when we did our initial zombie check.

“Ok. No. I’m not a Nazi. Technically they’re neo-Nazis. Or more correctly, White Supremacists. I hooked up with her because they had a little gang in prison. Sorta like the Aryan Brotherhood, only female.” I shrugged. “If you aren’t in a gang then you’re easy pickins. Didn’t totally buy into their beliefs but I didn’t mind it either. The rest of the group is probably more enthusiastic about it though.” Shrugging, I went on to relay the story of my escape from the hospital, leaving out the crazy regeneration superhero stuff. It made me wonder if I was actually a supervillian.

“Why were you in prison?” She asked, derailing that train of though.

“Killed some people after I got thrown out of the military. Let’s leave it at that.”

Mary was smart enough not to push. “So we’re going to hook up with neo-Nazi White Supremacists? What if they start hunting down black people and Jews?”

I shrugged again. “Let’s worry about that once we actually get there. Assuming you still want to go.”

She did.

After our little chat, I put Mary to work filling backpacks and gym bags from the Salvation Army store with food while I went to scout for a new vehicle. The snack truck was nearly out of gas and even though I could siphon some out of another car, I didn’t think she’d want to ride around in the same truck where her brother had died. It wasn’t very off road capable either.

There were plenty of cars to choose from scattered about the highway and parked in people’s yards. I started off in an SUV and then switched to a 1977 Peterbuilt semi truck without a trailer attached. It had a sleeper cab with a bed behind the seats and the diesel engine could be refilled using home heating oil siphoned from tanks outside people’s homes. I used its big chrome bumper to plow through abandoned cars and zombies alike.

An RV dealership lay surrounded by a chain link fence about a mile down the road so I parked the truck outside its locked gate, climbed onto the hood and hopped over. The parking lot was full of RVs ranging in size from little bullet-shaped travel trailers all the way up to luxury busses. I considered taking a bus but decided against it in favor of something a bit sturdier.

In the end I found a compact, high-end camper and managed to get it onto the semi’s back with no small amount of effort. It had a solid fiberglass body and the appliances inside ran off propane tanks mounted to the front. Thanks to the truck’s height, you had to jump up just to grab the door handle and the narrow, rectangular windows couldn’t be reached at all.

The interior was small but would do for the short term; a little kitchen area, tiny bathroom where the sink and toilet folded up so the whole thing became a shower, and the dining area converted into a queen sized bed. A combination heater/air conditioner was mounted to the roof and there was even a small electric generator that ran off propane.

It took me a few hours to get the camper secured to the semi’s back using a shitload of rope to strap it in place after I’d taken off its little wheels. A test drive through the parking lot ramming against RVs and hitting big bumps showed me the thing hadn’t moved much so I smacked its ass and called it done. Mary looked dubious when I showed off my work.

“It’s called Redneck Engineering. Best I could do without duct tape.” She laughed at my explanation and together we started filling our new home with ill gotten gains.

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