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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s Story #175 Breaking Camp in Baker City, OR. #TEOTWAWKI #SHTF #WROL

May 22, 2016

As we are striking camp, I find Iain unbraiding the draft horse’s tails.

“Not good for the horses,” he says to me. “It’s been driving me fucking crazy ever since we got the damn wagon.”

I shrug – whatever, Iain knows far more about the horses than I do. As we prepare to move, Mary-Margaret, Joker and Lucious, with the rest of our menagerie, are enough worry for now. Once again, red-head is absofuckinglutely useless.

As Iain and I collect the mines and early warning devices, several of Flower’s tribe ride into the small wooded and grassy area. Most of the children ride old, battered BMX bicycles, while some ride bikes obviously salvaged and assembled from pieces.

The feral children are dressed in a combination of rawhide, and quickly crumbling destroyed clothing. Most of the children have strategically placed pieces of tire either fastened to their clothing as armor.

Knives, spiked clubs, and other various improvised weapons are prevalent. Flower’s tribe has very few, if any, firearms. Iain has debated slipping Flower and her tribe some of our excess firearms. While the guns themselves are plentiful, it is the ammo that is in exceedingly short supply.

A ragged looking bunch, our escort smells as bad as they look. Between the lack of personal hygiene, and the lack of a bath, we follow our motley escort.

The only thing that is uniform about them (other than the smell) is that somewhere on their person, visible at all times, is a flower of some fashion. Rather it be a facial tattoo or a scar (some of them very well done) on visible places like the side of the neck, all of Flowers tribe are marked with her symbol.

Some of the other feral tribes use brands, but Flower allows her tribe members to choose how they will announce, forever their allegiance to her tribe. Most of the males choose the typical location of a shoulder or forearm.

The females mostly choose forearms, but a few have chosen the back of their non-dominant hand to receive the flower mark. One of the few things that I like about Flower is that she does not employ press gangs to add recruits to her tribe.

If you do not wish to join, you do not have to but Flower will execute the person on the spot. Usually after the first disinclined person is shot, suddenly everyone else is much more eager to join Flower’s tribe.

One child, a girl a think judging by her slimness, has a functioning LED tee-shirt with schools of neon-colored jellyfish swimming across the shirt in random directions. The black tee shirt is far too big on her, but it appears to be in decent shape and actually functions.

When standing outside in sunlight or in other bright light, the passive sections of the LED tee-shirt actually act as a solar cell and help recharge the small Lithium-Ion batteries. LED tee shirts were all the rage more than a few years ago, but the fad passed quickly.

Leading Mary-Zombie we join our motley escort in the street. Not sure if the tribal members know who we are, but no one even attempts any kind of introduction. Iain tosses red-head into the wagon with casual ease.

The way that Iain grabs red-heads hips and lifts her with ease is beginning to piss me off. I never would have thought as myself as the jealous type, but I am beginning to feel the first twinges that red-head may supplant me in Iain’s life.

Riding Mary-Margaret we pass old cars, most of them long weathered down to bare rims and rusty car parts. Anything of worth was stripped out of the cars a long time ago. We pass an old rusty Saab station wagon with a male skeleton sitting behind the wheel.

Staked in the car with a large bar of iron, the poor bastard is still wearing once fashionable Ed Hardy clothing. One of our escorts attempts wrenching the iron bar from its rusty grave imbedded in the poor skeleton.

He gives up after a few minutes, revealing why the large iron bar has remained where it is for so long. The young male studies the Ed Hardy watch on the skeleton’s arm for a minute. Shrugging, he leaves the watch hanging from the skeleton’s wrist.

The kid may not know what a wrist watch is, or may not know how to read it even if the damaged thing worked. Lord knows when the batteries died in that watch. I am thankful that the Casio wrist watch I wear has a small solar panel built-in constantly recharging the battery.

I am also thankful that in the bunker, we have solar, wind and hydro power. I wonder how Bobby’s old cement plant is doing. Last time we were through the area, Iain and I helped them source several small solar panels from some abandoned RVs.

The few solar panels and salvaged wiring was enough to at least get some weak lights working. They actually had enough power that Nadezhda broke out her secret record player. I thought she would play some awful Russian pop music.

I was fucking flabbergasted that she played opera. What even surprised the fuck out of me more was that butt-ugly Nadezhda, who looks like a hung-over, grizzly bear with a horrible case of bad hair day, has a voice like an angel.

Nadezhda can belt out Italian opera loud enough that the dust lifts off the rafters. She would have scared the damn pigeons off, but Bobby’s group ate them all long ago. Not only does Nadezhda sing Italian opera like a goddess, she can also sing some of the most difficult opera.

One day while Iain was visiting me, Nadezhda was screeching something incomprehensible in Italian when, of all fucking people, Iain starts whistling along with the Russian beast.

“What the fuck, Iain?”

“Oh, sorry Ruth, I recognize the opera. It’s from one of my favorite movies.”

I did not realize that Iain is quite the movie buff. In the bunker, Iain has a considerable movie collection. I did not realize, until I moved into the bunker, that Iain is quite the SciFi fan.

If Iain had not told me, I never would have realized that Nadezhda, the stinking horrid Russian bear, can sing Il dolce suono, an aria from the opera Lucia de Lammermoor. Supposedly one of the hardest arias to sing, Nadezhda belts it out with little effort.

The only reason that I know what the fuck Nadezhda was singing, is because part of that aria appears in one of Iain’s favorite movies, The Fifth Element. Iain loves popping an obscene amount of popcorn, curling up on our over-stuffed couch and watching a movie or two.

As we ride through the remains of Baker City, I sip cold hawthorne tea. The tea is good for blood pressure and heart health. I do not think that I have problems with either my blood pressure or my heart, but something that is good for you, cannot be all bad.

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