Skip to content

Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #58 Driving through the ruins of Kenmore SHTF & TEOTWAWKI

August 19, 2012

I wonder if stopping near I-405 might not be a darned smart idea because of all of the zombies that are likely trapped on the highway. Most zombies will probably be trapped in vehicles, but I am betting that there are going to be plenty of zombies wandering the highway.

From what I see displayed by the GPS in the dash, the intersection with I-405 is a crucial arterial, with lots of roadways. The GPS makes the intersection of the highways look like a giant spaghetti bowl.

I tell the colonels over the radio my concerns about stopping for the day anywhere near the I-405 and SR-522 interchange. An intersection with two key highways seems like a disaster zone, and to me, primarily an excellent place to avoid.

Rick in the snow plow echoes my concerns. Rick and I encountered way too many zombies on I-5 which is one of the reasons we left the main highways. While Rick talks to the colonels over the radio about another route we might try around the I-405 interchange, I overhear the Mercer Island Princess weeping in the background. Poor woman; I probably would be distraught too if one of my twin daughters died in such a horrid manner.

As the convoy rolls into the ruins of Kenmore, we pass Log Boom Park on Lake Washington to the right. Thankfully, it is fully dark with scattered rain showers, because there was a large crowd of zombies standing around the park’s entrance beside the roadway. I watched the zombie’s heads follow the sounds of our convoy, but without light they will remain motionless.

I notice displayed on my GPS in the Smart car’s dash that we are near a bicycle path called the Burke-Gilman Trail. The trail might explain some of the zombies dragging bicycles behind them.

Some bicyclists died while riding apparently. One of the comical zombies I notice is a fashionably attired zombie couple dragging a large tandem bicycle between them. Dressed in fashionable, Italian bicycle jerseys and ass-padded nylon compression shorts, the tandem bicycle zombies are hampered by the fact that their feet are still clipped into the pedals of the tandem bicycle.

Because their feet are tied to the large bicycle, and they are not intelligent enough to know how to release their shoes, the tandem zombies have resorted to dragging themselves with their arms across the roadway.

One serious problem facing the tandem zombies is the male zombie in the rear seat is significantly taller than the female zombie in the front. The height disparity caused the tandem zombies to spin in a slow circle in the middle of the Burke-Gilman Trail, dragging the bike with them. As we pass, we can plainly see the bloody trail left by the tandem zombies who have worn their fingers off to the bone dragging the bike on the asphalt.

After a zombie attack and when reanimated, the various bicyclist zombies dragged their bicycle with them rather than dropping it. I wonder if there is some basic memory of what they were doing when they were attacked, perhaps in the depths of the “lizard” portion of the human brain, which might explain why some of the zombies have kept dragging a useless bicycle.

I wonder if shooting a bicyclist zombie wearing a bicycle helmet will deflect a bullet. While it is tempting to find out by shooting a couple of zombies to see if a bicycle helmet would deflect a bullet, we should not waste bullets no matter how tempting the idea may be. We pass the bicycle zombies, and their oddities, as well as other less attractive but no less deadly zombies behind us.

The Log Boom Park from the highway appears much worse than the Lyon Creek Waterfront Park we stayed in yesterday. There are way too many zombies standing around the entrance to the park. The night is decidedly dark with little to no moonlight and heavy, pregnant clouds, but I think I saw tents and possible emergency shelters in the park as we pass.

Just past Log Boom Park near a dense, heavily wooded area, as the convoy continues east on SR-522, Nikola comes over the radio announcing that he found a radio broadcast claiming the last Vice President of the United States is still alive.

At the suggestions from the colonels, Nikola broadcasts the announcement about the VP to the whole convoy. I will not bother repeating the whole thing verbatim, but it was your standard propaganda “feel good the government is coming to save you” piece of shit. All the propaganda needed was some mighty stirring music to drive the message home.

I have heard enough propaganda in my life to recognize it for what it is, but I have to admit the piece was well done. Apparently the American VP is still alive, and as of the day before yesterday, was still at Camp David leading the fight against the zombies.

Camp David was being evacuated, and the VP was leading the evacuation. The way the propaganda portrayed the VP, who is a young statuesque blonde Caucasian woman, reminds me a lot of the propaganda for Che Guevara, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary.

Che was well before my time, but during my time in intelligence he and other revolutionaries were studied in-depth. I cannot help but compare the American VP propaganda to Che as they sound remarkably similar. Jamal mentions seeing stylized visages of the VP much in the same manner as Che.

The propaganda sound bite tries to portray the VP as a folk hero, much in the manner of Che, and is supposedly leading the brave troops in the fight against the hordes of undead. Someone who says he is broadcasting from the VP’s headquarters, claims that the last President of the United States made it to Mount Weather, but nothing has been heard from that bunker in some time.

The propaganda broadcast repeats every two hours on even channels on the AM dial according to Nikola. Nikola also says that Chen told him that some of the leaders of the People’s Republic of China made it to a secret bunker, but nobody has heard from them either in some time.

The general consensus in the convoy is that the world’s governments are mostly gone. What does remain of the old governments is shattered, scattered and ineffective. Jamal speaks on the radio again and enlightens the convoy that while he was in Virginia at the CDC HQ in Druid Hills, several members of Congress and the Senate, unable to reach newer sanctuaries, retreated to the old Greenbrier Luxury Hotel in West Virginia near White Sulphur Springs.

The convoy members had a lively discussion over the radio about the state of affairs, and the general impression that I got is everyone feels as if we are on our own. No one was truly heartened to hear the VP, the President, any member of Congress or the Senate had made it to safety.

The discussion about the current world state of affairs for the most part did take everyone’s mind off of the events of yesterday. I am sure the Mercer Island Princess will never get over the loss of her daughter in such a horrid manner. I am also sure the little girl’s twin will never be the same either.

As our convoy rolls through a business district of Kenmore, I look over and see that Shack is asleep again. I hear Shack’s light snoring and see a little drool hanging out the corner of his mouth. Poor guy, he is suffering from too much caffeine and not enough sleep as we all are.

A little before 03:00 the convoy comes to a complete stop and holds a brief conference. While Rick, the colonels, Nikola and I gather around the colonel’s VW, the other convoy members take the opportunity to use the bushes beside the roadway as a latrine.

While we are stopped, a pair of curiously dressed zombies standing beside the roadway where we stopped is dispatched with shovels and anti-personnel hatchets with a minimum of noise. The zombies never indicated they were aware of our presence other than their heads turning toward the noise of the convoy’s engines.

Both zombies were dressed in dapper golfing attire we later learn, so we assume that they came from a nearby golf course. After dispatching the golfer zombies, a light drizzle commenced. The rain drove the convoy back into the vehicles.

Once back in my car, I note that we are beside a large golf course and can see the bullet-ridden sign nearby as we pass that reads “Wayne Public Golf Course.” We briefly discuss stopping for the day in the golf course rather than the planned I-405 interchange.

Even with the Sammamish River to our backs such a large expanse of property could be difficult, to defend. We are also somewhat leery of stopping beside such a large body of water again. There is some concern that the Sammamish River may be zombie-laden, since it pours into Lake Washington.

The rain is still inky black, and although it has been black raining now for two days I am still not used to it. The air has a pungent, hot metallic tasting smell. Jamal transmits over the radio that some of the rain is fairly hot with fall out so he advises everyone to stay out of the rain.

Just as we started to get the convoy moving again heading for Rick’s suggested alternate route, a previously unseen black helicopter flies overhead shining a powerful spot light upon us briefly. The sudden, intense helicopter search light illuminates the area around us with eye-piercing clarity, which immediately wipes my NVGs.

Briefly caught within the helicopter’s search beam, the convoy is illuminated plain as day from first to last vehicle. A stern command over the radio for no one to shoot the helicopter is not necessarily for me, even though I was thinking of shooting the shtupn helicopter myself.

Tipping my grayed-out NVGs up on my helmet I watch as the helicopter search light briefly plays over the whole convoy and then the light is shut off just as suddenly as it appeared. The helicopter flies away with a roar of its rotors into the dark, rainy night.

  1. John permalink

    Great piece! Will the zombies swarm the plucky caravan after being lit up by the helicopter?

  2. John, you will have to wait until the next installment to find out.

  3. Tim permalink


  4. Anonymous permalink

    I am enjoying every installment

  5. Green Eyed Jinn permalink

    Seriously, why are Ruth & Shack still traveling in the Smart car? Good mileage is fine, but height, weight and defensibility are more. I would think the fuel isn’t all that hard to get: drain gas tanks of vehicles that are passed on the road as necessary.
    As for the helo and spot light, it’s hard to think they’ll be a good thing. Would they not try to communicate of the radio — or are they following the convoy based on intercepted radio comms? Why not loiter a bit and try for a rendezvous if they come from a remaining/functional military component?
    For the Mercer Island Princess, Dr. Jamal should probably consider a little direct intervention (and medication/sedation?). Ditto for the remaining sib. This is the first child lost to the convoy, due to an error in area security, and likely more traumatic than losing a front-line soldier. Wouldn’t a incident debrief and SOP review be in order for the convoy leadership?
    Oh, and while I like tactical tomahawks and shovels as much as the next guy, there’s a reason pole arms were so successful in classical warfare all the up to the Napoleonic era. Stand-off range, mutual protection, cutting and puncture attack would all be good instead of risking closure to an infected zombie. The people in the transports and back of the dump truck could all field effective anti-zombie defenses with some rudimentary spears & pole axes.
    Finally, this brings me to one other thing I see lacking in many zombie stories: personal armor. In Keith Blackmore’s Mountain Man & Safari books, the “hero” effectively uses motorcylcle helmets and leather riding suits with shin guards, etc. to protect himself from zombie bites. Bet your posterior that I would quickly figure out a way to keep zombie teeth from getting to MY precious posterior using leather/canvas/plastic. I would even think of using a shield of some sort to keep zombie-knashers held off long enough to smash their brain pan with a suitable weapon.
    Loving the series so far, checking every day for an update. Well done.

  6. Green Eyed Jinn permalink

    Oh, and I laughed out loud while reading the description of the zombie tandem cyclists. I think you’re spot on: getting out of many bicycle pedal systems requires some pretty coordinated foot/ankle movement. I can’t count how many times I fell over at a stop when I first stared using them.

    • Thank you Green Eyed Jinn, that is one of the best critiques I have received since I started this project. Ruth is keeping the Smart car for now, even though it is a fictional slightly larger four door model. She will change cars soon though. An SOP review and after incident brief or AAR (After Action Review) would be fine but they are transitioning from a military. I will address this more in coming chapters. Most of the soldiers are wearing Interceptor vests, but better armor would certainly be a good idea.

  7. Another great chapter, though it looks like it was meant to lead up to something bigger. You got me curious about the black helicopter.

    • You are correct Jake that originally this chapter was part of a larger chapter. I broke it at the helicopter to keep the chapters short since most people prefer shorter chapters.

  8. Awesome chapter and most appreciated. Green Eyed Jinn had alot of input and I think we all should help as much with our different views on your excellent tale. Keep up the good work and I’m glad they don’t have to eat MRES snce the addition of the food truck. The Helo represents a quandry, good or bad? I like that you brought the helo in, it makes one wonder about the Gov. I think that the ones who went to shelter and were not heard from (Gov) are waiting it out and sending recon to see how the few still alive are dealing with the undead horde. Any numbers as how many have become either KCAP zombies and KCAP cannibals vs humans, still alive…
    Love your stuff bro!!!!!

  9. Forgot to ask… But why has ” the princess” been shielded to the extreme and doesn’t bathe with the bad girls? she must stink to “high Heaven” by now, and has lost a the zombies. is she gonna turn into a female rambo or just eat a grenade???

  10. Green Eyed Jinn permalink

    I sort of understand the idea of transitioning from a military unit. But even though I did my own “transition” 5 years ago after a 23+ year career, I would find it very hard to shift my mindset out of patrol discipline in a zombie apocalypse. While not one myself, I spent a lot of time with SOF types, and I can just see Nikola ripping a few new ones (quietly, but effectively) for better security. I worked with one guy who retired 15 years ago and still says “Hoo-ah” after every sentence…
    When the Romans marched, they would build basic fortifications every night before camping. It would be interesting to see your band of survivors figure out some type of analogous protection. I really liked the use of reinforced busses back at the Seattle compound. I could imagine salvaging some car hoods along the highway and using some creative welding might build unique defenses.
    I’m still really in favor of pole axe styled weapons, but another potential as ammo gets low would be using combinations of pila javelins and maybe South American bolos. The pila won’t kill the zombie, but hitting and sticking would likely slow them down enought to be brain-smacked. And since zombies can’t even get out of modern bicycle pedals, I bet a bolo would certainly trip them up.
    And as I brainstorm on bike pedals and bolos, I’m thinking….jingle bells. Get some of those Christmas jingle bells, or a beer can with rocks as an expedient, and suspend them at intervals of 15 feet or so with paracord. Run from trees or stakes/pylons at knee-height, they could be used to build a highly portable perimeter alarm system that would be triggered by most zombies. If you had enough paracord (or other line), you could do multiple heights and/or tension it enough to actually slow approach with an audible warning.
    Yeah, I said “line,” not rope. Guess which service I was in? But I can still speak “Hoo-ah” at the functional level.

    • A few of the things you mentioned Green Eyed Jinn will be answered in future installments. I am partial to Roman weapons and troop movements myself. Arming the soldiers with polearms, pilum, and scorpions (the siege engine not the SMG) sounds like a good idea too. Bolos would be effective but are hard to get the hang of using as I have tried.

    • Great comments! I enjoy these almost as much as the story itself.

  11. Thank you, I still wonder what the ratio of undead vs alive humans are at this point… I guess the KCAP cannibals would be unable to fix upon, that’s cool. but out of a populace of say 8 billon folks who tread upon this planet, how many would you guess have been infected and are now trying to spread “the love”. This question may be impossible to answer but since we are dealing in a fictional arena, could you toss a number? if not, it is fine. I know I’m asking alot my friend. Also… thank you for putting a name to the face of the “undead” infection, it has been around for years, no one would explain the source, just a few movies pointing to an asteroid or something very vauge. I really dig the KCAP angle which means… we did it to ourselves.

    Keep on with your fine work, I would like to send some funding but do not like internet ways of doing such. Do you have a post office box number that i can send a money order to?
    i did this with Chris from Adrians and it worked.
    Be well. MM

    • Thanks MM, the numbers that I have been working with, based on the ridiculous R0 of the KCAP virus, is about 90% of the world’s population is either currently dead, undead or infected. There are other books where the zombie virus or agent is named. The excellent Morningstar Strain books, The Return Man by my friend VM Zito, and others name the pandemic much like I did. At present I am not accepting donations for writing but I appreciate the offer. I have been looking at some options, but dislike Pay Pal because of their anti 2nd Ammendment policies.

  12. P.S. Green Eyed Jinn, you rock!!!

  13. Thank you for naming the other books as I had no knowledge of them, I will look into them but I will remain a loyal fan of your talents as long as a zombie doesn’t take a bite out of me, good luck for that zombie bastard as the medicine I am currently on, might be the cure for KCAP.
    When you do find a way that we can help , please advise.
    Peace and hapiness to you.MM

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: