Chapter 2 - Entry 3
April 18th cont.
The semi truck's industrial mass wasn’t really needed as we moved through Ledyard’s empty streets. Cars had been moved off the road and there were bodies piled inside of dumpsters outside various parking lots. It was quiet, neat and orderly. I didn’t like it. The rig’s big diesel engine rumbled painfully loud as I drove down route 117 and my imagination ran wild with rifles aimed at us from holes in boarded up windows.
I turned off the main drag and headed through a residential district, oddly grateful to see a few zombies shuffling around and abandoned cars left on the road. We drove slowly, each looking out side windows for signs of rednecks and the guns they might have. Mary hit the jackpot when she spotted a tattered rebel flag proudly flapping in front of a two story house. I pulled the truck up front as a small mob of zombies caught up and started beating on its side.
“Ok. I’m going to go inside. That thing I told you about people turning into zombies if they get bitten? It doesn’t apply to me.” I showed her the circular scar on my arm and watched her eyes widen in surprise. “It’s a side effect of the medical treatment I was having done. Seems I’m immune. So don’t shoot me in the head or I’ll get really fucking pissed. Got it?”
I waited until a pair of them had climbed up the truck’s side and started banging on my window before kicking the door open. They didn’t exactly crowd surf like at a rock concert but the dozen or so zombies below did reach up to grab at them. Instinct I guessed. With the Glock in one hand and a tire iron in the other, I scooted out of the truck and onto its long hood. “Lunch is served! Come get me fuckheads.”
Zombies are predictable that way. They moved en masse to the front of the truck while I kneeled on its hood, jabbing out with the tire iron’s point. Once I had my captive audience, Mary slowly drove the truck forward, running them over while I held on tight. Six disappeared under the semi before I gave her the thumbs up and jumped off the side with the rest in shambling pursuit.
The slow ones are only dangerous in a group so I ran in a circle around them, ramming my tire iron through one skull before darting away to do it again with a different dead head. Rinse and repeat. A few crawled out from under the truck but they were put down pretty easily. Finally I stood in the rebel flag’s front yard with nine twice-dead bodies surrounding me and a gory tire iron dripping thick black blood in one hand. Mary killed the truck’s engine and disappeared from sight inside its cab as I wandered up to the front door.
All the windows had been boarded up and the door was locked when I tried it so I simply knocked. No living person answered but I could hear moans from inside. Then a body slammed against the door and fists started hitting it hard. Joy. A runner.
I went around back, climbing over a short chainlink fence, and found the back porch’s sliding glass door off its track. The smell of wood smoke and rotting meat hit me hard as I peeked around the edge at the devastation within. Three children had joined a hugely overweight male at the front door, banging little fists meekly while the big guy threw his bulk at it again and again. Two other bodies were laying on the kitchen floor before me, already crawling with flies and maggots that writhed beneath their bloated skin. One had a kitchen knife sticking out of her eye. The other had been shot in the head.
My foot kicked something metallic on the deck and all four turned to face me. Big Daddy ran balls-out at me, slack jaw snapping as black drool dripped from his blue lips. I put a round between his eyes and stepped aside as momentum carried his fat ass out onto the deck. The zombielings were shuffling forward as I reached down to grab the aluminum baseball bat off the deck.
“Ok Timmy. Let’s play ball.”
I searched the house after batting 1000 and found a gun cabinet proudly on display in the living room. Big Daddy had the keys in his pants and I set about looting what was inside; another .22 rifle, a nice Ruger M77 .30-06 hunting rifle with a scope, and few boxes of ammunition for both. A 12 gauge pump action shotgun was still leaning against the wall beside the front door but I couldn’t find any shells for it. Still, I bundled up everything in a lovely knitted quilt and headed back to the truck. Two zombies were trying to get inside but my brand new baseball bat hit a few right outta the park.
Mary and I climbed into the camper to inspect the weapons. The .22 was a nice little Remington Model 597 with a 10 round magazine. That got handed over to Mary while I checked out the M77. It had a beautiful wood finish but wasn’t an ideal gun for anything other than long range shooting since it was bolt action and lacked a detachable magazine. Shrugging, I loaded 8 rounds into the internal mag box and adjusted the carrying strap for my height. After that I taught Mary how to work the 597 and reload its clip.
We ate lunch and spent a half hour outside figuring out how to dump the camper’s waste system. As I watched the sewage drain into a ditch, Mary moved up beside me and touched my shoulder. I heard her rifle’s safety click off a moment later and spotted a pair of living humans running down the street towards us.
We ducked down into a ditch and I used the new rifle’s scope to check things out. It was a man in his mid twenties and an older woman, possibly pushing fifty. Their clothing struck me as odd. She wore a gray, ultra conservative, ankle-length dress cinched tightly at the waist. It made me think of clothing worn by some strict religious groups. The tight bun her blond hair was worn in didn’t help dispel the impression. The young man had on black dress pants, a long sleeved white dress shirt and black suspenders. His blond hair was cut short and parted on the side like a vision from the fifties. Both carried backpacks and looked unarmed.
Mary had a turn with the scope and whispered, “They look like Mennonites or Quakers or something.”
I nodded in agreement and took the rifle back.
We heard the staccato pounding of shod hooves on asphalt a few moments before we saw their source. A trio of saddled horses and their male riders rounded a corner, all dressed in the same style clothing as the younger man on foot. These men looked to be in their fifties and wore wide brimmed hats over hair worn long. All three had rifles.
I groaned. “Here comes the cavalry.”
“What should we do?” Mary whispered.
I shrugged and watched as the female runner glanced over her shoulder at the new arrivals and yelled out in surprise. Both started running faster. The horseback riders urged their mounts to greater speed and one took aim with his rifle while guiding the horse with both knees.
Mary yelped when the gun fired and a cloud of dust kicked up next to the running woman’s feet. “We have to help them."
Somehow I knew she'd say that.