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Zombie Apocalypse Fiction – Ruth’s Story #80 Completion of looting and return to camp KCAP, SHTF

September 12, 2013

The shooting to the south was furious but short-lived. Supposedly I am still in command, but from the roof of the damned grocery store, I feel in command of nothing. I am anxious to know the outcome.

Over the radio, came a tentative call, “Uh, Ruth … we gonna need ya down here.”

Harah! I am not sure who called me to the southern sector, but I cannot climb down the aluminum spelunking ladder fast enough, Shack right on my heels. Belatedly by the time I reach the ground, I remember that our two Spets comrades who speak exceedingly little English (most of it profanity) are in charge of some of our heaviest weaponry.

I hope no further shit hits the fan while I am off of the roof. Only God knows what the two damned Ivans will do without someone translating. I hope that they do not get rocket happy.

A quick jog to the southern sector reveals three dead men, none of ours. The dead appear to have been searched and cleared by our lads. One of our lads appears to have taken a bullet to the forearm; one of his buddies is putting a decidedly familiar looking Israeli style combat dressing on the wound.

Overhearing the soldier’s buddy, I hear him tell the wounded soldier that he is lucky as the round went clean through and appears not to have hit a bone. Until the wounded soldier spoke, I did not realize that it is Nguen. I have not seen Nguen in some time. It seems like ages.

Nguen has lost his once pudgy round form and now looks lean and very soldier like. After Hilyard finishes bandaging Nguen’s arm, Nguen stands to inspect his gear. Gone too is the shaggy mane of black hair, I note as Nguen removes his helmet to inspect the side which appears to have taken at least a few rounds judging by the holes in the desert tan helmet cover. Glancing over Nguen I also see that he has taken a few rounds to his Interceptor vest.

The Hummer parked beside the combat zone has taken a few small-caliber rounds but for the most part appears operational. Hilyard tosses the first aid kit into the Hummer and returns to his post, shortly joined by Nguen.

Looking over the slightly damaged Hummer I note that the passenger side window is starred in a few places, and there are some bullet dents in the reinforced armored body. The dents appear small, and insignificant. While casually inspecting the Hummer, I look over at the three dead men and a lone survivor.

The lone surviving attacker is lying on his stomach in the middle of the parking lot behind the burnt out bank closest to the highway. The survivor’s scruffy, dirt streaked, red-flushed face is turned towards me. One of our lads is kneeling upon the man’s neck, his Beretta 92FS jammed into the man’s ear canal.

The soldier with the 9mm pistol has rammed the muzzle of his weapon hard enough into the trussed man’s ear that the barrel has cut the man’s ear. A fine trickle of blood drips from the man’s ear across his unshaven dirty face to drip onto the littered pavement. With a jaundiced eye, I notice the piles of cash streaming out of the burnt out bank into the parking lot.

Useful only as tinder, paper currency has no other worth. You cannot eat it, it has no value as currency, but it might keep you warm for a while. Some other survivors have noted wryly that paper currency burns quite well; perhaps its greatest value in many years.

I notice that the lone survivor, underneath several layers of grime, general filth and several poor fitting pieces of clothing, is a younger white male maybe in his mid-20s. Trussed hand and foot with heavy Zip Ties, lying on his stomach in the parking lot, the desperate young man attempts to look around with a crazy look in his eyes.

With his hands Zip Tied behind his back, pinned to his spine by the leg and knee of the soldier with the 9mm Q-tip, the restrained man is obviously uncomfortable. Talking nonstop the young survivor appears to be intent on appeasing his captors and prolonging his life. As I get closer with Shack now walking beside me weapon at ready, I start to understand some of what the captured man is saying.

“Look we never would have attacked if we knew how many of you there were. We only wanted the Hummer and some food, man. It looks like you’ve been eating fucking well, and we’re hungry.”

As I walk up with Shack, the cuffed young man sees me and starts another tirade.

“Ah, man you have a cunt. Had we known that, we might have traded with you. Hey, hey! I can show you where a jail is not far from here. I was innocent waiting for my release when this whole fucking zombie thing went down. First the inmates controlled the jail with a few surviving guards but now it has been ransacked and fought over a few times. I think some cannibals own it now. If not the jail, then I know where more cannibals is underneath the old highway two trestles. They are always looking for something that they can fuck, eat or trade.”

Emmitt, the young sergeant in charge of our southern security detachment, standing beside the survivor, upon hearing the cuffed man’s rant raises his bushy brown eyebrows at me.

“Can I shoot him,” he asks, flipping his M4 off safe. The M16 family of weapons makes a very distinct sound when their selector is flipped off safe.

“Tempting Emmitt, but I do not believe that I am ready to dispense capital punishment for stupidity, yet. I also do not believe that he is worth a bullet.”

Turning from Emmitt, I look at the hood of the Hummer where the attacker’s weapons and equipment are laid out for inspection. The weapons have been made safe with their actions open, and all is laid out in a neat row.

“Hey, bitch who you callin’ stupid!”

I hear a wet meaty and metallic sounding smack from behind me. Looking over my shoulder I see that Garreth, the soldier kneeling astride the restrained man, has pistol whipped him soundly. The restrained man now has a lovely gash over his left eyebrow, which is starting to drip blood into his rheumy left eye.

The soldier whom pistol whipped the restrained man, corporal Garreth, I do not know extremely well. I do know that Garreth’s last name is Lanter (it is on his uniform) and that his friends call him Stork. Possessing an unusually large Adam’s apple, the man is painfully thin, gangly as hell, ghostly pale and stands nearly six feet ten inches tall in his bare feet. Wearing his combat boots Garreth is probably seven foot tall.

Garreth’s nick name is well applied. Second only to the hirsute Medieval Crusader we met at the Snohomish Armory, Garreth is the tallest man in the company. I mention that Garreth does not need to hit the restrained man. Garreth calls me ma’am with a touch of the South in his accent.

Shack whispers to me that due to a head injury in combat Garreth does not remember where he is from, or if he has any family. When stressed Garreth speaks with a deep Southern accent that some of the other lads, according to Shack, think might be Cajun. Shack also tells me that Doc hopes that with time Garreth’s memories might come back.

Looking back at Emmitt, and then to Garreth, with steel in my voice learned from my time in the Mossad, I mention that if this young man cannot keep his mouth shut, then I will have him gagged in the most expeditious manner.

“What are we gonna do wit’ ‘im,” Emmitt asks, leaning over my shoulder.

Emmitt is a muscular, light-skinned black man of medium height. Emmitt possess a deep love of Eastern US urbania and still has his deeply urban accent. Emmitt loves rap and hip hop music. He once fancied himself as a musician waiting discovery by the record industry.

Not a soldier by choice, Emmitt was drafted with all the other young men of similar age. Unlike some other draftees though, Emmitt has proven to be a competent soldier. Emmitt was inducted into the Army at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Talking to Emmitt makes me homesick and reminds me how much I miss Amy. While I just worked in DC, Emmitt lived in DC.

“Well I imagine that the colonels might want to talk with him. Then again we could always turn him over to Longfeather. Emmitt, have you ever heard of how creative the Apache were at dealing with rebellious captives?”

Emmitt shakes his head no as I continue thinking out loud.

“We could always strip him naked. Then we hamstring him, and leave his sorry ass in the parking lot as a zombie snack. I also like the idea of Super Gluing his balls to a zombie occupied car and seeing if the zombies inside can chew their way out. Maybe crack the car windows to give the zombies some encouragement.”

Looking at the assorted weapons on the hood of the Hummer I note that one of the weapons is a rusty M1 Carbine with black furniture. A small rust pitted snub nose revolver lies beside the rifle. The revolver has cracked wooden grips and looks as if it might be a small J frame Smith & Wesson that has seen better days. A sawed off, double barrel, side by side shotgun of indeterminate make lies next to the pistol.

With twin triggers, twin exposed hammers, and at least a pound of baling wire and black electrician’s tape holding the two barrels to the stock, I bet the old shotgun takes black powder cartridges. At one time,  the shotgun must have been a marvellous fowling-piece, but neglect and abuse have taken their toll. The hack job to the hammer forged barrels and the once magnificent English stock appear recent.

The disfigured shotgun is the last firearm that the four men possessed. An assortment of various crappy and dull knives completes the weapons of the attackers. None of the weapons appears to have been particularly well cared for.

“Nguen you were lucky that the M1 Carbine round is so small, otherwise it might have punched through your vest and helmet. The bullet might have done more damage to your arm too.”

Emmitt looks at me and points at the rust encrusted weapon.

“Uh, Ruth that is actually a clone of an M1 in .22 long rifle. If numb nuts here had waited for a clear shot, he might have actually killed someone rather than just pissing us off.”

I look closer at the weapon noting that it is indeed chambered in .22 LR which I had missed. I count 32 various rimfire shells, three .38 Special nickel coated shells with hollow points and six red paper hulled 12 gauge shells for the shotgun. Picking up the shotgun, I crack open the breech and sniff the barrels. I immediately get the telltale rotten egg whiff of black powder.

The high brass paper shotgun shells are too old to have had their lettering survive. There is a slight amount of green corrosion around the brass, but otherwise the shells appear serviceable. By the light rattle from the shotgun shells, I am betting that they are loaded with small birdshot and not something larger, such as buckshot.

There has been some discussion about eventually converting to black powder weapons. While I bet this particular weapon was probably found in someone’s heirloom chest, it does drive home the fact that our modern ammo is a finite supply.

Not a vast amount of ammo to be carrying during a zombie apocalypse. I especially note the lack of any food or water. Also telling is the lack of any means of carrying food or water. The men smell awful and have obviously been living rough while slacking on personal hygiene. Their clothes are nothing exceptional, whatever they could find to layer against the elements.

Their footwear is totally worn out and worthless. While I am sure at one time their sneakers were probably the height of fashion for urban youth, in a zombie apocalypse you want sturdier footwear. I made the same mistake at first with my heels, but at least I was able to correct my mistake.

If you loot a store or a home, take items that will survive not what looks decent or is in fashion. As much as I cringed at leaving my terribly expensive heels at SeaTac, there is no place for ridiculous fashion in a zombie apocalypse. Some never learn.

The survivor’s breath is atrocious, and while I am sure that mine is not pleasant either at least I have brushed my teeth a few times since TEOTWAWKI. I suspect that the man is suffering from scurvy and is malnourished among other things.

From the diffuse rash around his mouth and the open sores on his hands and soles of his feet, I suspect that our prisoner is suffering from secondary stage syphilis. I make a mental note to talk to Doc about getting some Penicillin shots for anyone who might have touched the nasty individual. I am overreacting I know, but the thought of a STD creeps me out.

I kindly ask Garrett to get off of the man, and he rises like the gangly youth that he is. Garrett and Emmitt prop up the man on his knees. Once the prisoner is on his knees, Garrett puts his pistol away and places his hands back on his primary weapon hanging from his LBV. Because of his height, Garrett is one of the few men in the company to use an old M16 A2 with a non-collapsible stock.

We leave the dead lying where they are, and take our prisoner into the empty store. I radio back to the base camp giving our situation report (sitrep). Garrett is joined by the injured Nguen while Emmitt and the other soldier, whose name I did not catch secure the Hummer and the gear we took off of the attackers.

My sitrep is fairly quick and brief. We were attacked, with one minor injured, no Killed In Action (KIA), three dead attackers and one live slightly injured prisoner. As I expected, the colonels are not particularly eager to talk to the prisoner after I fully describe him.

Shack, Nikola and I hover around the radio waiting for the colonel’s decision. We do receive the good news that Bill and all the crew with him returned safely. Other than the before mentioned ag diesel, there was no more fuel to be found. Also, terrific news was that the first wave of our vehicles from the opposite side of the highway returned safely.

While Nikola and I talk over the radio, Shack, Garrett and Nguen secure idiot to one of the small round steel support pipes in the middle of the gutted store. Nguen places the muzzle of his M4 between idiot’s eyes while Shack cuts the Zip Ties. Garrett stands to the side with his weapon also trained on the prisoner. The other soldier remains in the Hummer, which Emmitt drove up to the store front, manning the roof mounted Ma Deuce.

The two lads have positioned themselves so both can shoot idiot without fear of hitting Shack. With business like efficiency, Shack gets idiot to sit on his ass, and wrap idiot’s arms around the steel pole which Nikola calls a stanchion. While idiot hugs the pole, Shack uses another sturdy Zip Tie and secures idiot’s hands around the pole.

With idiot now secure, the three lads rejoin Nikola and I at the M35 waiting for the decision. Nikola makes sure that someone always has eyes on idiot, just in case he tries to pull a Houdini. For now idiot appears to be considering his fate, and he is, right now thank God, quiet.

What intelligence the prisoner might provide is dubious as he was incarcerated when the KCAP epidemic hit. Obviously not in possession of the highest moral character or intelligence, the prisoner still poses a problem for us. While I am reluctant to summarily execute even this shit bird, his knowledge of our presence is a threat.

Should idiot actually survive a meeting with the cannibals, assuming they do not eat him if they could stomach the smell, he might trade knowledge of a well-armed and supplied group in the area for his life. The skinny white young adult with numerous prison tattoos on his arms, might not deserve to die, but he did choose to attack us, so to me, his life is ours to decide.

At least my reference to the Apache and how they treated captives in the past has caused the man to shut up finally. The colonels have left the decision to Nikola and I but stressed camp and convoy safety. While the recovery crew stores the weapons on the trucks and prepares to leave, Nikola and I have a lengthy discussion concerning what to do with the, thankfully still silent, captive. The Spets I know can be fairly creative dealing with problematic captives.

Nikola fought against the Caucasian rebels while his father fought against Georgia, and his grandfather fought in Afghanistan. All three generations of Spets soldiers possessed acute knowledge concerning treatment of a troublesome captive. No polite Geneva rules for these lads.

To ensure our idiot captive does not understand our conversation, Nikola and I discuss his fate in Russian. While it is possible that the fool could have understood Russian, he does not strike me as the brightest of individuals. So I figured the odds were fairly decent that he would not understand Russian.

Considering that Nikola and I were graphically discussing hamstringing the fool and leaving him as a naked zombie snack, I believe that if he understood us he would have commenced begging for his miserable life. Nikola was in favor of blinding idiot with one of my hair pins after hamstringing him. I treasure my hair pins too much to foul them with a nasty little fucker unless I have no choice.

I also would not want idiot to miss seeing death come for him. Blinding him in my mind is too merciful. If we are going to leave idiot for the zombies, I want him to observe every single minute that the zombies fight to get to his delicious flesh.

Shooting idiot is likewise out of the question. Although right now ammo is plentiful, in the future it will become exceedingly scarce. Quality ammo is one of the things that we cannot replace. Our supply of ammo is decidedly finite. Slicing his throat is equally repulsive to me, as is the idea of stripping the man.

After a few minutes Nikola and I finally come to a compromise. We are not going to kill idiot, but we are also going to ensure that he cannot follow our vehicles. We are also going to ensure that we give idiot ample encouragement not to follow us.

Going to the M35 truck, Nikola rummages around in the cab for a bit and comes back holding a ALSG10132 Hornet’s Nest sting grenade. By the red stripe around the grenade body, I can tell it is the .32 caliber version designed for light conflict nonlethal dispersal. I wonder just what Nikola is going to do with the nearly useless sting grenade?

Nikola asks Shack and Emmitt for help lifting idiot off his ass. Making an impressive show of pulling the pin on the grenade with his hand covering the red stripe around its belly, Nikola places the grenade spoon facing up on the floor. While Nikola holds the spoon to the grenade body, he tells the two boys to sit idiot down gently on the grenade, trapping the spoon between his body and the grenade.

Nikola then explains to idiot in simple but graphic terms what a grenade with a three-second fuse will do to his balls should it go off. Of course,  Nikola does not tell the idiot that it is a nonlethal grenade that he is sitting upon. Nikola places a sealed clear plastic liter bottle of drinking water, a John Wayne bar in a brown wrapper, and a brown plastic package of squeezable snack cheese spread on the floor between idiot’s legs.

I notice that all of the food stuffs have FEMA markings so idiot will not realize that we have a large store of MREs. Nikola orders idiot to open his mouth and when he at first refuses, Nikola offers creative suggestions detailing just how he would encourage idiot to open his mouth.

With eyes wide in fright, sweating profusely despite the cool of the late afternoon, idiot opens his mouth wide. Nikola places one of the closed dull folding pocket knives that was taken off of his dead companions into his mouth and tells idiot to hold it carefully. If idiot is careful and does not pull off of the grenade he might be able to get the knife into his hands, and eventually cut his way free.

Nikola mentions casually to me and Shack that he considered dulling the knife more than it was already but thought that might be a bit too much. As it is, the man is sitting trussed to a metal pipe in a store with a wide gaping hole in the store front. Regrettably, there is no way that we can secure the front of the store anymore after Rick rammed the snow plow through it repeatedly.

As our loaded trucks prepare to depart, and we do a quick head count to make sure there are no missing soldiers, I give one last look at the looted stores. I do not even bother to look at idiot sitting in the middle of the wide open store. A light drizzling rain has started to fall again with frequent cracks of cobalt blue lightning in the sky. The faint thunder is still distant but is close enough to be heard over the idling trucks.

At least we did not leave idiot in the open, and we also did not leave him utterly defenseless. I could not stomach just killing him even though he did attack us. Had he actually killed one of ours then I would have had no problem summarily executing idiot on the spot. Desperate situations make desperate people. If idiot is careful and gets the knife to his hands without setting off the grenade, he might be able to free himself. How he gets off of the sting grenade, is his problem.

Inside the idling M35 warmly snuggled between Shack and Nikola again, I begin to drift off to sleep. As the rain’s intensity increases from a light shower to a fucking downpour, I am once again glad that our truck has a solid roof. I stretch my feet out anxious for some heat from the damned cold engine.

Shack sees me stretch my feet towards the floor heater vent and ensures me that as soon as the engine warms up he will turn on the cabin heat. I eagerly anticipate the pitifully weak flow of lukewarm air over my cold toes. My upper body is fairly warm snuggled between the two large men but my legs and feet are cold.

Shack asks Nikola if he should hit the horn a few times, but Nikola says no, the noises that we made and are making are more than enough to attract zombies from all around. No sense honking the horn and attracting more attention. As Shack pulls onto the highway behind the lead vehicle in our convoy, the Hummer driven by Garreth, I keep expecting to see a flash of bright light behind us from the cavernous maw of the store.

As the last trucks hit the highway, over the radio comes the news that Sarah has gone into labor.

  1. medicine man permalink

    Excellent again ( as usual) and not such a long wait between postings, I know it is very hard to work, raise a family and write superb zombie fiction. Your story is great, it has been from Ruth and her partner at the very beginning. Sea-Tac and all of the situations that have kept us waiting for the next post.
    I knew the Sarah issue would be forthcoming and I applaud the timing you chose to bring it on. You really set up the story line well, I know of several other cliffhangers that are in the warmer.
    Thank you Mr Allen, Be well.

  2. Nice to see you back. Thanks for another great chapter. I particularly enjoyed reading about the scumbag, and deciding what to do with him.

  3. medicine man permalink

    FYI Mr Allen. My boss who was bumped out of his supervisor job, was re-hired as a trades person. I am happy he is back but I am sad that he had to fall, so deeply. Take care and I can’t wait to hear about sarah’s delivery. I have an idea about it but I am sure you will excite us. Keepl up the good work.MM

    • I hate to see what is happening to the American work force right now. Time will tell how all this will settle out. Looks as if we are in for a bumpy ride for a long while. I should get the new chapter up soon. Nice to be busy with work again even if it was not in a field of my choice. But work is work. Sarah’s delivery shall have some interesting repercussions. It will be interesting to see the reactions to the story.

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