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Fiction – Ruth’s Story #44 First raid among the zombies at midnight while camped at the Lake City Way barricade

June 12, 2012

Randy looks at me and then at Sutton. “We are hitting a veterinary care center that is a little over a block away. Initial scouting reveals that no one else has hit it before us.”

“And if someone has already gutted it?”

“Well then we will have a short raid and a longer sleep tonight. The raid members are not on watch rotation tonight. The boys are standing two hour watches tonight.”

“That is Ok with me, but some good sleep sounds almost as good as a hot shower right now.”

“Well you ladies get washed up quickly so we can get the other raid members showered, fed and to bed. I am afraid it is MREs tonight, since the food here is suspect. I understand the Mercer Island Princess has not deigned to join the untermenschen in the shower.”

“Mal said something like that; I guess she has social class issues.”

Randy touches my shoulder and walks south down the line of vehicles. I see several soldiers escorting Sam and Jamal among the restrained barricade members. Not as many people as I thought there might be with this large of a space.

Not my problem right now, let someone else worry about the barricade members. I see Nikola with his thread cutter walking along the line of vehicles. He waves at me as I duck into the large canvas tent.

The inside of the tent is lit by several hanging green Coleman propane lanterns. Running down the two sides of the tent are a row of long plastic-topped folding tables. The tables are the same ones that the soldiers had when I first joined them.

A curtained partition in the rear of the tent in the northern portion must be where the showers are as that is where the roar of the propane heater comes from, as well. I also hear Carol and Mal taking behind the canvas partition.

Dragging my rolling luggage behind me I step through the partition and join the two ladies in the small shower area. Four shower heads are rigged in two pairs of two with plastic matting covering the asphalt. The water will drain down the street storm drain to the right of the shower heads.

Two wooden benches are strategically placed to lay your gear upon so it does not get wet. Carol’s and Mal’s bags are already lying open on one of the benches so I heave my luggage on to the empty bench and unzip it to pull my shower kit out.

Mal and Carol are already stripping, so I quickly follow suit laying my rifle and pistol on the top of the bench on my luggage. I am thankful for the rubber mats as it keeps my feet fairly clean.

Now naked, I realize how badly I stink. Carol and Mal each take one nozzle and after adjusting the water as hot as they can stand start getting clean. I follow suit and the hot water feels phenomenal. As the sudsy pink water flows off of me, I realize how much blood and gore was splattered on to my body.

I dig at my long pony tail a few moments until Carol comes over. “Here Ruth let me help you. I did not realize your hair was so long.”

Naked Mal is washing our clothes, using liberal amounts liquid Dawn dish soap, a broom and a couple of plastic five gallon buckets. For an older woman, she is in decent shape, with more of a swimmer’s physique than a runner. She has the tiniest bit of a stomach paunch, so she might have had a baby a while ago.

Carol gets my pony tail unbraided, and hands my hair pins to me. “These are very pretty, but they look really lethal. Ruth do you have a brush or comb in your kit?”

“Yes over there in my shower bag.”

Carol steps over to my shower bag and while I stand underneath the glorious hot water spray helps me wash and comb my hair. Wet, loose and combed out my arrow straight hair falls to just below my knees. My super long hair is a fetish for me and something that I did to prove that I was still a woman despite the field that I worked in.

“Ruth do you want to braid your hair while wet or let it dry first?”

I appreciate Carol’s question. “I prefer to braid it tightly while wet.”

“What do you mean you; with hair this long obviously you have to have some help. You can’t do it by yourself.”

“Yes my girlfriend used to help me braid and wash it ever other day or so.”

“Ruth, I would like to Dutch braid your hair is that Ok with you?”

“I am not sure Carol what is Dutch braiding?”

“It’s like French braiding but inverted and starts higher on the head and spreads the weight of the hair over more of the scalp. My mother had long hair but nowhere near as long as yours. She liked the Dutch braid as it looks classy.”

“Ok Carol just as long as I can tuck it underneath my shirt out of my way.”

“Well it will be a little shorter than the simple three strand braid you had and will spread the weight out more.”

Mal is getting animal with the laundry, beating it with the broom. I see she is also using a pressure wand of some kind.

“Mal are you using a pressure washer on our clothes?”

She chuckles. “No Ruth we rigged up a low pressure steam lance from the equipment HEMTT to help clean clothes. The real trick is going to be drying all this shit.”

Silence falls as Carol busily works on my hair. She does an admirable job and does not tug on my head more than she needs to keep the braid tight. Reaching with my long braid in her hand, she leans over to my luggage and grabs my large bag of bobby pins.

“How many bobby pins do you want in your hair Ruth?” I appreciate Carol asking how many pins I want in my hair.

“Put as many bobby pins in my hair as you need to hold it.”

“Well the Dutch braid will not need as many pins.”

Carol finishes with my hair and I tuck my precious lethal hair pins in my fresh braid sliding them vertically against my scalp. I see that Mal has gotten the laundry done, and has dressed in another pair of solid O.D. green coveralls.

Our dripping clothes are hanging over a sagging clothes line near a propane heater sitting on top of a white five gallon propane bottle. It does not take too long before steam starts to rise off our clothes.

Carol and I dress quickly. Although my boots are wet, I slip them on with no socks for now. I’ll put on dry socks tonight before the raid. My field jacket is wet, so I will have to wear my Scottevest jacket if it is cold. My web gear is wet too, but I think I can get it over the heavier jacket. If Mal or Carol noticed my lack of underwear, they did not say anything. If either woman noticed my total lack of hair below my neck, neither one mentioned it either.

Leaving our steaming and dripping clothes drying we grab our shower kits and exit the shower area. Entering the dining area we see that several cases of MREs are lying on the tables. Several of the former soldiers are eating, but no civilians are present.

Randy and Sam are sitting across from Jamal and Sutton. Between the four soldiers lies a wasteland of several MRE packages. Despite being sickened earlier today none of the soldiers appear any worse for wear. Guys start drifting past us and going in to shower.

I sit down at the table and grab a sealed MRE package. Mal and Carol soon join me sitting on the opposite side of the table. We eat in silence. I get the vegetarian delight MRE which is actually not too shoddy, even better when you are starved. Toss some Tabasco in the MRE dinner and it is actually pretty decent.

After dinner, we sit around the table drinking warm cups of instant coffee. A few of the guys are dipping smokeless tobacco – a seriously nasty practice. The shower is still in service with a steady line of soldiers coming and going.

Randy looks around and nods at Sutton. “Get some sleep ladies. Ruth be ready to go at midnight. I’ll have the watch wake you at 23:30 so you can get ready.”

Taking my weapons with me, I walk back to my little Smart car.

I pull out my ECWS sleeping bag and after laying my boots underneath my car crawl in the bag fully clothed. The bag warms quickly and as I drift off to sleep I remember the young boy and wonder what happened to him.

I sleep with scattered dreams until someone shakes me awake.

“Ruth is time to get up. Assemble at the colonel’s car.” The Russian accent tells me it is Nikola shaking me awake.

I stretch and unzip my bag. Getting out of my bag I quickly roll it up and put it away in my car. Grabbing a spare pair of socks, I put my boots on. While I am at my car, I also take a moment to grab my Glock fighting knife and hang it on my pistol belt.

Slipping into my cold Scottevest jacket and putting my damp web gear over it gives me chills. Damn I hate the cold! My web gear is a little snug over the heavier jacket but will work for now.

My hair down my back is slightly damp but still warm. I pat the nape of my neck ensuring that my hair pins are still in place. The tip of my pony tail rests in the hollow of my spine just above my hips, several inches shorter than I am used to. I will have to thank Carol for her excellent braiding skills.

Grabbing my weapons and my NVGs I join the small group of men at the colonel’s VW station wagon. Apparently I am the only woman on this raid.

Randy, Sutton and Nikola I know, the other two baby-faced soldiers I do not know. Interesting group we have assembled with an eclectic array of weapons. Everyone has a suppressed rifle from the M16/AR15 family of weapons, mostly in the A4 configuration. Randy, Sutton and I are the only ones carrying rifles with barrels longer than 16 inches.

Each soldier carries a suppressed pistol in a shoulder holster, mine is the only Browning. The two new kids carry a Sig 229 and a HK SOCOM Mark 23 respectfully. Randy and Sutton have near identical desert tan Kimber 1911s.

Nikola I am surprised to discover is loading a suppressed Glock 20 10mm pistol from a white cardboard box of Federal ammo. The box is labeled as 225 grain subsonic hollow point rounds.

We stand for a few minutes doing last minute weapon checks until the two colonels walk up to us. Sam digs in the back of the VW station wagon coming out with a small naked PASGT helmet in which sits an O.D. green SERPA holster.

“Ruth try helmet this on. If it fits, mount your NVGs to it. Replace your old holster with this one so you can leave the suppressor mounted.”

I take the helmet from him and with a few adjustments it fits well enough. I forgot how heavy these damn helmets are with NVGs mounted to the front. After a few minutes, I get the new holster attached to my pistol belt. My Browning fits in the new holster well enough – not perfect but close enough for government work.

Now that, I am properly attired, as is the rest of our small raiding band, a mission brief follows given by Sam.

“Alright, at midnight, one of our guys is going to start the southern Metro bus the noise should attract the zombies away from the northern gate so you can slip outside. The numbers of zombies outside the barricade have dropped considerably, but there are still plenty milling about. Sutton and Randy have the list of what we could use from the veterinary supply. You two (he points at the two young soldiers I do not know) are going to check the roadway north. Randy, Sutton, Nikola and Ruth, are going to search the veterinary office. There is about half a moon so avoid bright areas of moonlight as the zombies might see you. Be quick, be safe and come back alive. Rangers lead the way.”

A few soft Hooah! follows Sam brief. Our small raiding group jogs to the northern gate where we take a knee and wait for midnight.

At exactly midnight, the southern Metro bus starts its engine and revs it several times. While the southern bus is causing a distraction, we slip around the northern Metro bus as barricade members hold parts of the fence open for us.

We run for the nearest cover in a quick hunched run trying not to make too much noise. I do not think anything could hear us over the bus. We separate at the street corner, the two young soldiers head north up the road while the last four head east down the street.

Sutton leads with Randy on his heels. Nikola is in the middle, and I bring up the rear.

Weaving between abandoned cars jogging in short bursts from car to car while remaining hunched over is tiring and painful. We have to shoot three zombies as we make our way east down the block. Sutton shot two of the zombies, and Randy shot one, their 1911s making soft coughing noises as they shoot.

Reaching the door of the business we were sent to investigate, we find the windows and glass door smashed to bits and pieces. Sutton is first in the door, the shattered glass making crunching noises under his boots. Randy and the rest of our party follow Sutton inside the business.

Looking around inside the business foyer it certainly looks like this place has been searched already. File cabinets have been ransacked, furniture shredded, carpet ripped, and every piece of wooden furniture is broken.

Stepping to the back of the business, all the storage lockers, refrigerators and any other cabinet gapes open. The floor is strewn with useless medicines for animals like dewormer, flea and tick medicine, and other types of medication that I cannot identify.

“Someone has already searched his place,” Sutton says softly.

“What were they looking for, or was it just plain fun to destroy all the furniture?”

“Hmm good point Ruth, Ok let’s do one more search of this business then we are out of here.”

Carefully searching the business I discover the floor is heavily scarred by one of the large stand up freezers on the back wall. The arced scarring seems to indicate that the freezer has been slid back and forth several times marring the floor.

I give a soft whistle which brings Laurel and Hardy trotting to my location.

“Look here at the floor, see how it is scarred in an arc.”

I point to the marks on the floor and the two men immediately start to pull on the freezer. Some tugging on the freezer reveals that it swings open which also reveals a female zombie standing in the once secret doorway.

This zombie wears a typical white lab coat and reaches towards me. I slap carbon fiber and whip my pistol out shooting lab coat zombie between the eyes before Laurel and Hardy realize she was there.

Laurel and Hardy turn to see me standing with my smoking pistol and then turn to look behind themselves seeing the dead zombie with a perfect 9mm sized hole in her forehead lying on the floor by their feet.

Nodding at me they turn and enter the secret space with pistols drawn. Looking behind me, I see Nikola walking backwards following with his peculiar thread cutter rifle out, held at port arms as I follow the two older men into the dark space.

  1. John permalink

    Another suspense filled ending. Still wondering what’s in those rucks though. This piece had a good mix of detail and action.

  2. Craig W permalink

    Great chapter. I was wondering if you were going to go more into detail about the naked women and showers, but you only went as far as necessary. Now that they’re outside of the perimeter, I think things will be interesting. I look forward to more soon.

    • I had considered making the shower scene a little more erotic, as I need practice writing better erotica, but decided to make it more neutral. With troops outside the barricade, things are going to get interesting.

  3. If Lab Coat Zombie was behind the wall, I guess that means that what’s behind door #1 is infected.

    How can you tell a zombie from a normal human? Are they a rotten bloody mess, shuffling with raised arms like Frankenstein (sterotypical) or is it just the look in their eyes?

    • Thanks Jake, most of the zombies are pretty obvious, but a very fresh zombie would be hard to spot until it moved. The KCAP zombies move with the typical zombie shuffle and jerky motions typical of their kind. Also the utter lack of any noise is a dead (forgive the pun) giveaway that the person is a zombie. Crawlers are pretty easy to spot as a zombie as there is usually a reason they are crawling like a lack of legs for instance.

      • Craig W permalink

        I wonder if injured folks crawling might be mistaken as zombies and shot. In fact, I wonder if in this scenario, a lot of non-zombies would be attacked by paranoid folks thinking they are zombies.

      • Craig, you are correct that injured folks could be mistaken for zombies. Also in a situation like this a lot of non-zombies get shot by paranoid and panicked people. Mass hysteria is a great motivator for shooting anything that comes too close to you.

      • Helios permalink

        Shoot wildly at anything nearby…until your bullets run out. I think that conservation of ammunition would be important in this or any SHTF situation.

      • Helios you are correct that conservation of ammo is going to be a prime motivator. However there are going to be people that in a panic shoot everything they have for ammo. The people in my stories are going to be careful and not use bullets when they can. Conservation of ammo is a major concern and something well noting in any SHTF scenario. Acquiring more ammo is also very important, which is why you need to be ready to defend yourself because those with no ammo and no guns will try to take yours.

  4. Tim permalink

    More please

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