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Ruth’s Story #33 – Stopped within uban survival engineered barricade on Lake City Way surrounded by zombies

May 14, 2012

“Hopefully we took the fight out of them.” Jamal sounds concerned.

“I regret the earlier unpleasantries. I wouldna blamed you if you had just left after the way we treated you folks. (There is a slight, silent pause.) Well, I’ll go in the house after lunch and getch ya two full boxes of .300 Win Mag. Seems the least I can do since you guys really put the hurt on that gang.”

“We would appreciate it, specialty ammunition is going to be difficult to obtain.”

“Yeah I bet. That big ol’ bolt action Barrett rifle your boy carries, it’s one of those new fancy multi-caliber doozies ain’t it?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“That gang of ass holes been hitting us a couple times a week; they done some serious damage to the barricade. They are one of the reasons we collected all the heavy fencing from nearby businesses. A little creative urban survival engineering comes in handy. This whole KCAP virus thing turned out to be a real doozie of a black swan. Well enough chatter, let’s get the rest of your convoy inside the barricade so we can close the southern gate before we get run over by zombies.”

Sam transmits, “Everybody hear that, if you are not already within the barricade, get your ass inside now, so the barricade can be closed. Call out when you are inside the barricade.”

Reaching inside the little Smart car, I grab my radio. “Ruth inside.”

“Carol and Nikola inside.” The thick Russian accent on that transmission lets me know it was transmitted by Nikola.

The Humvee with the 240 on its roof, the last vehicle in our little convoy, comes careening up beside my little car and the blue GM diesel pickup. Accompanying the brief trip is a profuse cloud of black smoke billowing out of the Humvee’s vertical exhaust stack and the throaty roar of its GM turbo charged engine. The woman driver slams on the brakes bouncing the standing ex-soldier manning the 240 around. I hear the standing soldier swear profusely while he gets bounced around.

“Wheeled mechanics inside. Last vehicle in convoy; all vehicles clear of the southern gate.” Not sure who transmitted that message, the voice was neutral enough to be either male or female.

Another faintly transmitted message overheard in the background is probably the barricade leader talking on a radio. Shortly following the completion of the overheard discussion, a large diesel engine to the south starts.

I partially observe the closing of the southern gate, which is comprised of a large articulated Metro bus, as it moves back into position. For better or for worse we are inside the barricade.

“I hope they will not bother you again. Getting strafed by a dual .50 and a pair of belt fed automatic weapons should be enough to make anyone reconsider. Was that all of the gang members?” Jamal seems intrigued, eavesdropping on his conversation, Jamal’s remark breaks my observation of the southern gate.

“Regrettably no, that was a raiding party, or an attempt at testing our defenses again. There are plenty more ass holes out there.” The way the barricade leader emphasizes “plenty” makes me wonder if he means that more than one gang exists which have been bothering the barricade defenders.

“I have a worry that someone may attempt attacking you to possess the weapons which we are taking with us. They probably have at least one observer nearby. That last shot into the little white car was most likely a Raufoss round. Word gets out you have that kind of firepower, might attract all the wrong sorts of attention.” Jamal seems genuinely concerned.

“Yeah maybe perhaps so, but then again might keep the ass holes away. Well, it looks as if you folks are stuck with us for a bit. ‘Till the zombies clear the northern gate anyways.”

“Jamal, Sam, this is Sutton, do you want me to take the high ground and see if I can spot the observer and take ‘em out?”

A moment of silence passes. “This is Sam, stay where you are, the observer has probably left by now. However, everyone keep your eyes open. If you see someone that looks like an observer watching our position, shoot them. I’m OK with SOS (Shoot on Sight) and ask questions later.”

Silence falls again as I watch a few of the former soldiers walking around the vehicles. Everyone is obviously armed with M4s, M9s and other weapons in obvious sight. Still using my stupidly pricey Steiner binos, I finally spot Sutton sitting behind the optical sight for the dual .50 gun mount on top of the deuce.

Wearing his Ghillie suit pulled up covering himself and the gun mount’s camera, Sutton almost blends into the truck. The zombies do not seem to realize that there is someone on top of the deuce. I zoom in on Sutton and realize that he is using a remarkably similar pair of binos with which he is scanning the tops of the buildings surrounding us. Leaning over the camera system for the dual .50 Sutton is resting the binos on it to steady his optics. So, I have spotted Laurel where is Hardy? Maybe he is eating.

Sutton has a pair of honey comb antireflection lens covers attached to the objective lens housing of his binos. I see him range several buildings, writing things down with a pencil in a note book. I cannot see what Sutton is writing, but I would bet anything he is making a range data card. Sam said, I thought, that no snipers were coming with us. Sutton is acting unusually “sniper-ish.”

“Where did you guys get all the concrete?” Jamal says suddenly changing topics and making me look away from my observation of Sutton on top of the deuce. Looking around the interior of the barricade I see indeed that there is certainly a lot of crude concrete poured around the foot of the barricade.

“There used to be a huge concrete plant a few miles east of here. You’ll pass it on the right if you stay on Lake City Way. We helped ourselves to several trucks full of concrete.”

“I’d say more than a few trucks.” Jamal comments wryly.

“Yeah we were busy for a while. Thankfully, one of our guys used to work for the concrete company and knew how to operate all the machinery. He knew how to mix the concrete in the truck for the hardest concrete we could pour. Eventually we ran out some things like fly ash, whatever the hell that is, so we just had to do with what we could get.”

Looking around the inside of the barricade, I see the large solid slab of concrete which forms the base of the barricade that the ex-colonel is referring too. Not pretty, but an effective way to hold the crude fencing and provide security. Looks as if the barricade people scavenged all of the lumber that they could find with which to make a concrete form; in which they set the fencing and other barricade material in to the wet concrete. Setting the scavenged fencing material, cut up shopping carts, heavy chains, and about anything else that they could jam into the wet concrete makes an effective, if fucking ugly, barrier.

They certainly will not get any awards for pretty work, but the mounded concrete makes a highly effective deterrent and solid anchor for the fence. They poured the concrete high and thick enough to deter all but the heaviest vehicles. Or zombies armed with explosives.

The concrete fence footing is nearly waist high to me, square vertical faced on the interior with a sloping exterior. The sharp exterior slope might stop most vehicles, except for those with the highest ground clearance.

There are numerous sections of metal fence posts, rebar and other scavenged straight metal pieces with mushroomed tops. The metal pieces and the damage that they portray makes me figure the barricade builders drove the pieces of metal through the asphalt into the ground to help anchor the concrete.

I know little of construction, but it would seem to me that the deeply driven metal pieces somehow connected to the barricade would make it a lot stronger. I would worry about an attack breaking the concrete loose from the asphalt. Maybe the barricade builders had the same concern and pounded the metal stakes down through the asphalt pouring concrete around them anchoring the barricade base.

Wonder what they used to drive the metal fence posts? The tops of the metal fence posts look like the usual metal tee fence posts that are the bane of every Israeli farmer and orchard owner. Driving the three feet to eight feet tall fence stakes in to the hard ground of Israel is a real chore that is not relished by anyone, especially in the summer heat of Israel.

Topping the barricade is a copious amount of rusty razor wire. The razor wire is held out on angled metal brackets similar to what you see on fences around high security places. Underneath the razor wire are coils of nasty barb wire from which hangs all kinds of tin cans, CD-ROMs, and any other noisemaking junk. I even see several small brass bells like you see on domestic pets, and some of the bells with clips like you attach to a fishing line.

Speaking of fishing line, I see lots of fishing hooks tied securely to stout monofilament line hanging around the barricade interwoven in the razor wire. It appears that there was no shortage of nasty barbed fishing hooks or fishing line. It takes me a few moments to determine the purpose of the fishing line and hooks until I spot the destination of the fishing lines.

It appears that should someone attempt to climb through or cut the razor wire, the chances are pretty strong that they are going to get several fish hooks stuck in their body. The enormous fish hooks and razor wire are high enough off the ground that the zombies do not get tangled in the wire or fish hooks. I would hate to be the one attempting to sneak through the barricade with all of the rusty razor wire and rusty fish hooks hanging in its top. With the lack of modern medical care, tetanus is again going to be the nemesis of the living.

All the noise making junk and the razor wire I bet are to give warning of living invaders attempting to slip over the barricade. The razor wire, fish hooks, and barbed wire certainly should be a deterrent to any fool that attempts to climb over the barricade. The barricade builders went all out creating an effective urban survival area since they chose to remain and reinforce rather than bug out.

I wonder if this urban survival barricade was planned or a spur of the moment thing. This much material took some real planning to collect and assemble. Someone had to be really familiar with the area and know what was available. It was nice of their neighbors to let the barricade builders take their fences, concrete, heavy machinery, tools and whatever else it required to build the barricade. I wonder how many of the barricade owner’s neighbors resisted the plundering and are no longer among the living?

Was the barricade builder’s SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, or black swan (a term I have not heard used in a while) plan based on their ability to steal and kill their neighbors? Or did they assume that their neighbors would be dead or would have fled by now leaving the contents of their homes and businesses up for grabs?

A slight breeze brings with it the unmistakable cloying smell of putrification.

A disturbance to the north causes me to look that direction. Looking through my Steiner binos, I see hundreds of zombies pressing against the northern portion of the barricade. While the zombies themselves do not make noise, the sheer weight of so many zombies pressing against the barricade makes a lot of noise.

The weight of the zombie horde is enough to rock the articulated Metro bus that forms the northern gate. I wonder what keeps something from crawling underneath the Metro bus into the barricade. They must have blocked the underside of the bus somehow.

Sheet metal, which looked like old galvanized steel roofing panels, covers the outside of the Metro buses. The panels appear to be holding even with a zombie horde pressing against them. My binos reveal that many of the windows in the bus are cracked, but most of the windows seem to be holding despite the zombie horde.

The zombies are not smart enough to climb the barricade, and they are not able to crawl under the bus either. Living attackers might be able to climb the barricade or figure out how to climb underneath the bus. How the barricade members keep a living raider from getting in to one of the Metro busses and driving it out of the way, I wonder?

It might be a serious risk having a large Metro bus that forms the gates since someone could just jump in it and drive it out of the way. It could be a fascinating experiment to test the barricade defenders by seeing if I could start a Metro bus and possibly drive it away clearing the gate. Not that I would have taken a bus, but I wonder if the barricade defenders have considered the possibility. I hope the barricade defenders have a way of disabling the Metro buses so they cannot be driven by an unauthorized person.

I spot and note several dented and broken areas in the barricade, hastily repaired that appear as if somebody attempted to ram a vehicle through the barrier. It appears that the barrier has held so far. I have to hand it to the people that made this barricade; it is fucking large, impressive and equally ugly.

The Garmin GPS system in my little Smart car displays just how large this impressive barricade truly is. From where I am sitting, I can only catch glimpses of the western and southern portions of the barricade.

The barricade totally encloses the triangular shaped block with the dry cleaners in the precise north eastern corner to the southern corner where 12th Avenue North East joins Lake City Way. The northern section of the barricade runs westbound along Northeast 80th Street to the corner of 12th Avenue North East. At the corner of 12th and NE 80th streets, the barricade runs east along 12th Avenue NE until it merges with Lake City Way again.

The barricade is a massively impressive feat of urban survival engineering. A sudden radio transmission by Jamal halts my musings about the barricade.

“Here are the rest of the medical supplies we promised. Make sure you administer them sparingly. There is several schedule three medications in the med kits. If you can, get some medical books by raiding a library, pharmacy or book store.” Jamal seems genuinely concerned, must be the doctor in him. That whole “do no harm” thing.

“You know with the barricade closed, the zombies are more of a nuisance than a threat. We have found that as long as everyone stays out of sight, eventually the zombies will wander off.”

“So you are going to ignore the zombies?” Jamal seems surprised.

“Yah for now, with your whole convoy inside the barricade, the zombies are not a threat to anyone. No sense wasting resources on things that are already dead. We have a couple of black powder cannons that we can load with chain, cable and grape shot. The cannons loaded with either grape or chain, really wipes the zombies out. The tricky part is making sure the two cannons loaded with the cable or chain fire nearly simultaneously. We can probably start making our own black powder here pretty soon, but no sense wasting the little black powder we have until we need to use it. Your idea of raiding a library and a pharmacy for books sounds pretty good.”

“Do not forget a book store either.”

The conversation tapers off, and I hear another indistinct conversation. It sounds as if the barricade leader’s radio has several people on their channel, as well. The barricade leader’s conversation is too faint for me to hear clearly.

“My name is Pete, by the way. That was my wife and sister in law, and they say that we would like to invite you and your men to eat lunch with us in the Chinese restaurant. You might as well eat with us, since you obliterated the attackers who brought the zombies, and you are not going anywhere for the moment. You are not in a hurry are you?”

Jamal’s voice comes over the radio. “Sam you catch that?”

“Affirmative, half the crew eats now then the other half. Shut down everybody. We are parked for a while. Everyone follows the same rules we had in the camp.”

One by one the vehicles are shut off, and I reach in and shut my little car off. The sudden silence seems eerie. Occasionally a zombie rattles the barricade or gets tangled momentarily in the barricade thrashing around for a while.

Soldiers, correction former soldiers, start getting out of their vehicles. A few young Caucasian males each armed with a modern compound bow of some kind with attached quivers full of brightly-colored arrows and dressed in street clothes, walk over and start gesturing and explaining that the guys need to stay behind the vehicles when they walk to the restaurant. That way the zombies will not see anybody and hopefully they will be gone by the time we are done eating.

Looking behind my car while I stand beside my little car and stretch, I see Carol and Nikola walking towards me.

“Ruth, Nicky and I are going to eat with the second shift, would you join us?”

“Sure,” I mumble while digging for a cigarette. I notice Nikola likewise digs a cigarette out. Breaking off the filter, he tosses it on the ground. I light my cigarette and then light Nikola’s unfiltered cigarette with my Zippo. Leaning against my little car with Carol between us, Nikola and I enjoy a momentary respite.

I glance over and see that the four mechanics and the M240 gunner are playing “rock, paper, scissors” to see who goes to eat first.

I ponder how best to spend my time until it is time for me to go eat. Why the hell did I agree to eat second shift? I should clean my weapons, but my cleaning kit is packed in the bonnet of my car. I do not want to pop the little car open and show the world what goodies I have.

I consider walking to the passenger side of the car and then remember that we are playing hide and seek with a gigantic fucking zombie horde. With a shooing motion of my hand, I make Carol and Nikola move down my car, clearing the driver’s door.

I am startled by Jamal standing a little too close to me.

  1. Great story, but the description of the barricade was a bit tedious, lasting far too many paragraphs, so I skimmed it.

    Are KCAP zombies like moths—attracted to light/flame in the darkness which causes them to become “blazers”? If so, I’d set buildings on fire in the evening to attract zombies to think their ranks.

    • Thanks for the suggestion about the barricade Jake, perhaps my description was a little too lengthy. I am not offended if people skip over the parts they find boring. If another reader finds the idea of urban survival construction interesting maybe they will read the description fully. Setting things on fire is a good distraction technique for KCAP zombies. The moth analagy is pretty good, as there are similar characteristics between moths and the zombies.

      • ZombieKiller permalink

        Id be interested in how to kill the zombies unless they die on there own. They are the main threat but maybe not the most dangerous.

      • Yes the zombies are a threat but you are correct that they might not be the most dangerous threat. Our fellow man is much more dangerous than the zombies.

    • Flaming zombies would be cool, unless they set everything else on fire too. Do wild animals attack them, since they’re dead (walking) meat?

      • Yes the zombies are fed upon by wild birds and most any other critter scavenger. An early entry described the gigantic flocks of ravens, black birds, and sea gulls that were feasting on the dead flesh. Blazers are a hazard to any flammable structure. There was some references to the hazard of flaming zombies in earlier entries.

  2. BobOK permalink

    Keep it coming! I like your attention to detail; this story paints such a vivid picture for me.
    Thanks again!

    • Thanks Bob, I am glad that you enjoyed the detail. If there are some suggestions with regards to the detail I would love to hear them.

    • Seeing that we already hapepn to be discussing points regarding Walking Dead’ Zombie School (VIDEO) | Sci-Fi Comic Books Movies and TV Online Video Blog Show, Significance of education really should never be undermined. All over the world people agree that education will be the key to a healthy mind along with a effective life.

  3. Aiken permalink

    This is a pretty slow pace they’re making. I expect they’ll be at the Canadian border by the end of the year…

    • Yes the pace is slow, but remember the roads are all completely blocked with abandoned cars. Things will pick up a bit once they get out of the major metropolitan areas.

  4. Jürgen Balke permalink

    My son was assigned an English paper in 9th grade, with the topic being the Zombie Apocalypse. He detailed how it could happen (to some degree), but concluded that it was unlikely. He felt that the environment and maggots would ultimately kill off the zombies before they destroyed civilization.

    • Actually, there have been some studies done by some major math wizards at a couple colleges where I got a lot of my information about the R0 factor, and the standard deviation of infection. Some of the models done by the University of Ottawa, Canada put the timeline as less than 96 hours for world-wide pandemic collapse with a zombie apocalypse with this stupidly high of a R0 factor. While the zombies themselves are short lived due to normal decay, the KCAP virus multiplies itself exponentially. What happens with a virus this horribly infectious is that everyone close by dies, and the virus ceases to have a viable host. Much the same thing happened in Europe with the Black Death. Bubonic plague was mainly defeated by a mass exodus and die off of the population. When there were no more bodies to infect the virus retreated to the level it is today. Every year we add almost 80 million people to the earth. That is a lot of bodies to go through before the KCAP virus might die off.

      • So the KCAP virus isn’t just communcated by zombie bites?

      • No you can catch the KCAP virus from eating infected meat, coming into contact with infected blood, or getting bit by an infected animal or person. The main way of getting infected is by being bitten. The KCAP virus has not yet mutated into an air borne strain and still requires direct contact to spread. Being grabbed or scratched by a zombie will not infect a person. However shooting a zombie at close range and getting splattered in the face with goo has a high degree of probability of infection. Get zombie brain goo in your eyes or mouth (or an open wound) and you may become infected.

      • Thanks Bob that is pretty cool. Not sure I have time now to play the game but it is certainly something interesting.

  5. Raeder permalink

    So when can we expect #34?

  6. Alan4535 permalink

    me likey them zombies… tasty!

    • So Alan you would become one of the KCAP zombies? Might be interesting if you would share your culinary talents with my readers.

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