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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s Story #171 Slowly Moving Into Baker City #TEOTWAWKI #SHTF #WROL

April 17, 2016

Entering the outer suburbs of Baker City, we see ruins of civilization all around us. For her part, red-head rides silently beside Iain in the wagon. I wonder what she is thinking riding beside Iain on his right side.

Red-head did not even mention Iain’s humongous sword, most people when first meeting Iain, usually mention his great height, the sword or both. It is unusual that red-head did not mention either how tall Iain is or the sword, both of which would have been unusual before KCAP, but now is certainly unique.

Passing once modest homes in quiet sleepy suburbs now gutted by time and neglect, I wonder if the former occupants of these homes realized that their world would end so suddenly. Some of the homes, gutted by fire, and reduced to a blackened, shattered skeleton offer few clues to its demise.

There are very few cars left on the streets. Most of the cars that are left were probably the second, third or other spare family car. Most of the former occupants of these homes were far enough away from a major population source that they might have escaped to the highway before it became a zombie-clogged killing zone.

For lunch we stop inside a little community park, generously planted with numerous, over-grown, small hardwood trees. Stomping down a space within the hip-high, over grown grass, Iain and I lay out a blanket and get comfortable.

I lay my Galil with it stock folded on the blanket beside me. Iain has left his rifle on the wagon, but still carries his suppressed P90. Iain has to lay on his right side, accommodating his sword while I kneel on the blanket. Red-head, mercifully silent, kneels between us to eat.

If we need to shoot, I will use my trusty, old suppressed Hi-Power. Iain will use his P90. Iain may use that ginormous sword of his depending on the situation. I could use my old Spetz shovel, but I would rather not get that close to something unless I have no choice.

We would rather not use an unsuppressed weapon as the gun shots would tell the whole god-forsaken county where we are. We do not need to attract attention to ourselves, although I am sure that Flower or one of the other feral tribes probably has us under observation already.

While we rarely run into zombies anymore, there are still a few out here. Iain and I worry more about other survivors rather than the occasional zombie. What few survivors remain are the hardiest of the lot. Most of the weaker survivors have died by now.

We nibble on reconstituted peanut butter (god, have I come to loath peanut butter!), spread on old C or K ration crackers, and old US, MRE cheese spread.

I despise the old cheese spread both for its taste and for what it does to my bum. However, it is loaded with calories and fortified with vitamins, both reasons the government included cheese spread in MREs.

I gag down the plain cheese spread, while Iain is partial to the jalapeno or bacon cheddar flavored. Using our little Esbit stove and far too many precious hexane tablets, I boil water for Labrador tea. I like the convenience of the little fuel tablets but I hate the chemical stench they give off when burning.

Red-head is silent throughout our meal, eating without comment or joining Iain’s and I brief conversations. I mention the lack of Tripod and Cyclops, to Iain who just shrugs.

“Might have had her puppies,” is his only comment about the missing dogs, as if I understand what the fuck he means.

Leaving the hobbled animals munching on the park’s over-grown grass; Iain starts digging around in the grass near the base of the trees. Using our empty MAXPEDITION ballistic nylon dump pouches, Iain collects quite a few of the small, hard red fruit. I am certain the little fruit is edible. I trust Iain’s gathering skills; he can find food where I would have starved a long time ago.

“What are you going to do with these,” I ask as Iain returns to the wagon with yet another overflowing dump pouch of red fruit.

Pointing to the neatly planted rows of trees, Iain shrugs. “Those trees are Hopa ornamental crab apples. Hopa trees were planted all over the place because of the pretty, little pink flowers shrouding them in spring. Few people realize that the little, red crab apple fruit, with a little work and time, can be quite tasty.”

Iain shows me one of the full dump pouches and gestures towards the pile of filled dump pouches. “Far too bitter for eating raw, Hopa crab apples are red all the way through. Thankfully, Hopa crab apple trees dump lots of apples, most of which go to waste. Someone must have liked the look of these trees or got them really cheap to plant so damn many. There are enough crab apples that the birds and animals missed for us to eat quite a few. The little crab apples have been frost softened and sweetened; I can make delicious, jellied apple butter once I run the pulp through our ricer at home. Few insects infest these hard little apples. You can also be damned sure that they have not been sprayed with any poisons by an overzealous asshole who thinks anything with more than six legs is a pest and must be killed. We will need to remember this little park, so that we can come back later and collect more apples.”

A man of few words, Iain always gets excited about food, especially something different from what we eat all the time. I do not believe that we have ever had apple butter in the bunker since I have lived there.

After lunch, Iain and I restore our gear with red-head helping minimally. Iain takes the small hatchet and collects several pieces of dead crab apple wood. Tossing the wood in the wagon along with the hatchet, he answers my unspoken question.

“The apple wood is good for using on cooking fires. Since you’ve been with me I haven’t had any apple wood to use but you’ve seen me use cherry, alder, and oak. Apple wood provides a slightly different taste, good for cheeses and bacon if we had any. Good thing you aint kosher, as I‘d love some apple smoked bacon.”

Carelessly tossing red-head into the wagon, Iain climbs up after her. I ride Mary-Margaret up next to the wagon. Iain gives me a good snog before snapping the reins, getting the heavy wagon moving.

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