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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #140 First night in the new bunkhouse, winter thoughts & Parrott cannons #TEOTWAWKI #SHTF #WCS

March 22, 2015

Along with several hand-picked Adventists, our Scouts have scrounged every solar panel they could locate pulling them from on top of houses, off train cars, and even the ones installed by the department of transportation on their signs and billboards. Between the solar panels and several bicycles repurposed with treadmill motors, most of the batteries are kept fully charged enough to run lights and some power tools.

Along with the survivor traffic, we also get sporadic news, some of it of dubious worth. Talking to survivors coming to the Adventist’s compound seeking medical attention, we have learned that the cities are wastelands full of the dead, and the quickly dying.

Huge hordes of infected infest all of the major cities. All city services have broken down. Vermin has broken out in large waves, with rats overrunning the sewers and streets. One piece of good news is that the freezing weather and loss of artificial heat has caused the death of billions of cockroaches that froze to death.

Most of the food in the cities is exhausted, and those survivors that have not already turned cannibal, are either going cannibal or are fleeing the cities. Moving within the city is extremely dangerous. Moving, especially during the day, is only undertaken in the direst of situations.

Many survivors are taking advantage of what is going to be a short summer, traveling north away from the major cities. The convoy is waiting for winter, when most of the rivers and lakes will be frozen, hopefully making travel easier. I am not sure I am going to have the nerve to drive a vehicle weighing nearly three tons on ice.

Despite living in the states for more than 20 years, I have never really gotten used to the damned cold winters. I am a child of the desert, and never did like travelling in snowy weather. Amy, a native of northern Maine and an avid snow bunny, always drove during the winter.

My Lotus was not a practical winter car, and I used to commute by light rail to work anyway. Amy’s old British, gray market imported, left-hand drive, classic Range Rover was much more practical in winter weather. Amy loved that puke green, old boxy British tank. She spent considerable time and money keeping the huge beast maintained.

Leaving the hospital and Doc playing with ants worried about the sugar levels in his urine, I head for the new bunk house. I pause to watch some men unloading what appear to be civil war cannons from a pair of horse-drawn wagons.

While the cussing men unload the unwieldy cannons, some men with some of the older children unharness the pair of four-horse teams. Leading the eight horses away, the grooms take them to be brushed, and then turned loose in the guarded fields.

We still have to have guards watch over all of the livestock, unless some starving soul decides to eat them. We have not had to shoot anyone attempting to kill any of our livestock in a few days. A wet meaty splat followed by copious cussing, draws my attention back to the wagons full of iron cannons.

“Be careful you fucking klutz, these things shatter ya’ know,” someone shouts. Wiping some of the mud off of the fallen cannon barrel, I try to read the letters stamped on the barrel.

I note the presence of cement filling this and several of the other cannon barrels. I wonder just how the men intend to get all the damn cement out of the canon barrels. Curious, I kneel beside one of the larger cannons lying on the muddy ground stacked in a neat pile.

“It’s a Army four-inch, or thirty-pounder Parrott gun, miss,” one of the men standing in the wagon says to me. My blank look must have given him the idea that I wanted to know more, for he continues.

“Parrotts were used in the Civil War by both sides, despite their deserved poor reputation for safety. Although Parrotts were shunned by many artillerists. Good thing for us, is that there are many surviving Parrott gun tubes lying in parks all over the country. Somehow they survived not getting melted down during the scrap drives of the wars. It takes a thirty pound shell or shot charge propelled by about four pounds of black powder.”

I have no idea what a fucking Parrott gun is (thanks to Iain for the proper spelling, and another fucking unwanted history lesson), but I understand that a zombie apocalypse is no time to be weapon picky. I know the lads have been making their own black powder, with various degrees of success.

I am glad that I have an important enough job that I do not tasked to mine latrines, bat caves and other nasty places for nitrates. I do not know where the Adventists acquired the eighteen inch deep and nearly six-foot wide, iron kettle to boil away the water leaving the raw saltpeter. The fuel demand making black powder is huge. I know that they sent some lads north looking for coal.

At least we have a use for all of the damn wood ashes, and charcoal. I bet we have at least a hundred folks dedicated to the production of black powder. I just wonder if the Adventists produce enough black powder to fill all of these cannons.

Leaving the men wrestling the unwieldy cement-filled iron cannons, I resume my trek to the new bunk house. Despite not feeling tired, I decide to crash for the day. Shack, Honey and LM are already snoring by the time I get to bed. Naked, I slide into the bedroll warmed by Shack.

Curling up against Shack’s back, I press my cold tits against him trying to warm myself.

“Jesus! Your nipples feel like a pair of cold erasers shoved into my back,” Shack whispers. His large warm hand slides down my side, and cups my hip. I wonder if Shack wants to christen our new bunk house.

This large cinder block bunk house, one of several built on the property, is similar to other large open, one room dormitories I have been in over the years. The building has one large central room in which all of our cots and bedrolls are laid out. Trying vainly to warm it, a wood burning stove sits at either end of the large room.

Someone has thoughtfully strung old blankets between the bunks offering visual privacy but not audible privacy. I note that several of the other bunks are occupied with Adventists, this bunk house being designated for couples without children.

During the day when we sleep, we will pretty much have the place to ourselves, as we are the only crew that works at night. My thoughts are interrupted by Shack, whom as I had guessed, wanted to make love in the new place.

  1. medicine man permalink

    Hello my Northern Friend, The story is going along very well and I look forward for each new installment. A lot of family issues going on in my world, but Ruth seems to have a lot of interesting things happening with the convoy / crew. I can’t believe that Doc Jamal would have infected himself to cure (Hopefully) his diabetes. I am sorry it did not work but the infection may manifest other helpful ways. Freaking summer is here in south Fla. A/C running all night and day. No need to worry about shoveling snow…
    Take care, M.M.

    • M.M. Sorry to hear of your family troubles.

      I am glad that you like the way the story is going. Doc’s infection may yet “cure” his diabetes.

      It is still cold and wet up here. We had an unusually mild winter, and a very wet spring. Lots of lowland flooding, and not much snow pack to mention. It is going to be a dry summer unless it rains a lot (let us hope).

      Take care.

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