I wish I had a cigar to chomp on. Strictly so I could say “I love it when a plan comes together” at the same time.
Things are moving along just swimmingly. Who the fuck says that? I know I don’t. Why the hell would I type it? Guessing I’m channelling Queer Eye for the post zombie apocalypse. Did you see that zombie’s outfit!?!? OH MY GAWD! SO TACKY! *insert flaming moment* Gotta love the gays.
Wow that was off track.
Our Westfield problem seems to be coming closer and closer to becoming a Westfield asset. Yesterday I beat feet to Westfield at about 10am. I didn’t need to get there for recon purposes early or anything, and I really just wanted to be there for noon and the house beyond. I did wind up taking a Lunesta that night and I tell you what, I slept like a goddamn baby. The women have been soldiers about taking up guard duty and doing campus patrols. Patty’s rib seems to be more or less set and mended. She says she’s all better, but I see her wince now and again. She’s off the Advil regimen for the most part, and I think she’s more sore than in pain. Tough chick. Abby has been doing some pretty ballsy solo patrols of campus, which is saying something because we’ve had a lot of undead up here.
We’ve gotten them at the bridge pretty much without exception, thank God. Between them getting stuck on the nail boards or not being able to get around the vans fast enough, we’re getting it done. I’ll lose my mind if the girls get bitten though. I’ve fully adopted them as family.
Anyway. We’re reasonably safe, and on my trips out from campus Auburn Lake Road has been reasonably clear. Almost every day I have to stop to take one or two out with the hatchet. Sometimes if I think I can get away with it I just hit them with the truck, though if I can, I get out and kill them manually. I’m still waiting for something really loud to happen on campus to lead the huge pack right up the fucking hill. It really makes me want to do something about fortifying the campus immediately, but we’ve got too much going on.
On the way to Westfield yesterday I set up a small resupply cache. About five miles from town before the turn off roads I found a small house right on the side of the road. I backtracked, went on foot into the woods, and made a straight line to the house so I didn’t leave any visible foot prints in the snow. The house was wide open and exposed to the elements, and I cleared it out quickly and safely. I dropped off a backpack with my Sig and the magazines, as well as the Remington 870 shotgun. I left a change of clothes, some food, some water, a spare radio, and some medical supplies. If the shit hits the fan in Westfield, we’d at least have weapons and basic supplies. I looked for salvage in the house, but with the windows open, everything edible was ruined. Actually, there were a few cans of food that I snagged, and they had some consumables like laundry detergent and soap and shit like that.
I got to Westfield and got myself set up in the woods near the farm. I had a good angle looking right down the barrel of the road we did our ambush on the other day, as well as a good field of vision to the door and porch of the farmhouse. Good killing field, and great visibility.
There was no radio traffic at noon, and when the truck arrived at the farm early at 2:30 I knew something was up. I recognized Ollie and his stout frame and red hair, and with him was another military looking fellow. He was also a little thick, but he had a solid look to him. Sort of a police officer-esque stance. They got out of the truck, and headed inside.
They were still inside the farm when I got the call over the radio a little after that. It was Lenny. “Hey anyone out there yet?”
I responded, “Yeah Lenny, we’ve been here all day. What can I help you with?”
“Is this Adrian?”
“Nice to talk to you again young man. I need to ask a favor of you if you don’t mind.” He seemed in good spirits, but I caught a hint of skepticism in his tone.
“What can I do for you Lenny?”
“My boy Ollie is here, and he’s brought a good friend of his, Staff Sergeant Mike McCarthy. Ole Mike here is on board with your plan, but ain’t willing to do anything without a man’s handshake on it. I told him you’d be a hard sell on that, but he’s pretty much insistent on it. Any chance you’d be willing to talk face to face?”
Now I put some serious thought into this. If I said fuck you go to hell, then Sgt. Mike goes back to the school and tells them everything. Or, he goes against us and says no fucking way and we’ve lost everything. I can say sure, I’ll be right there, but don’t try anything funny, and then he feels like he’s at gunpoint. No one wants any part of a shotgun marriage. I played it bold. Big swinging dick bold.
“If he doesn’t mind being outside when we meet, then I can be there in ten minutes.”
After a minute, Lenny came back with, “He says that’s just fine. Where at?”
“Your porch okay? Private and whatnot, plus you can fire up that big old pipe of yours.”
“Now that’s thinking. We’ll see you in a jiffy.”
And I was mobile. I stopped and watched them come out on the porch a minute or so later, and before I came out of the wood line I checked every single spot I saw for snipers. If I was one, it was reasonable they had one too. I came out behind the barn so they couldn’t see me, and came around the corner with the Savage on my shoulder. I got to within maybe 30 feet of them before they saw me. My white sheet camouflage was apparently very effective.
Sgt. Mike jumped up and the cigarette fell out of his mouth. He dropped his hand to his pistol and then jerked it away and looked around. He totally knew there were other guns pointed at him. I had to hide a laugh because… there wasn’t any. Power perceived is power achieved Mr. Journal. Write that shit down.
Here’s what I recall from the discussion;
“Good afternoon gentlemen.” I smiled.
I could see Mike taking my measure, and he seemed to assess me as dangerous. He nodded and I got the “that’s a good soldier look.” Sergeants, the good ones at least, can usually assess a soldier as shit or shine almost instantly. There’s a way you walk, a way you talk, and a weight good soldiers and cops have. I have it.
I nodded at Ollie and Lenny, and greeted them. Ollie seemed a little nervous, but much better than our first meeting. Mike didn’t look scared much, but the whole time his big brown eyes kept looking for shooters.
I shook everyone’s hand once Lenny let me on the porch. We talked about kind of generic stuff, then I squared off and just asked them what was up. Mike spoke up first, “Look Adrian, we’ve got a pretty good thing here. As long as we put up with Sean’s shit, we eat good, we sleep good, and we’re safe. I’m all for kicking his ass off the pedestal he’s put himself on, but there’s a lot of shit that could go down. If we get rid of him, how do we know you’re not gonna make a power play on us?”
“You don’t. I can say this though; I’ve got zero interest in telling you people how to live your lives. I’m trying to live my own. Sean keeps fucking with that, and that’s just unacceptable.” I saw Lenny flinch when I dropped the f-bomb, and made a mental note not to swear anymore.
Mike nodded, “I ‘spose you’re right there. We were thinking of doing a run tomorrow. And we just.. return empty handed. We go to Lt. Daniels, and tell him straight up that your people ambushed us, didn’t hurt anyone, and said that you guys wanted justice for the gas station attack. I can tell him that all you want is Sean. Sean and only Sean and you’ll be square, and walk away. I can sell him on a story that you guys are insanely well armed and smart and all that, and hopefully the L.T. will just toss Sean out like rubbish.”
“Do you think that’ll work? That’s risky, he might see us a huge threat and decide to attack us instead? Plus after our failed ambush when your woman Tera got shot.” I was a little apprehensive.
Ollie chimed in real quick, “Adrian I kind of lied about that. I went to my dad after you guys left, and we decided to play dumb. I told them we got jumped by a zombie and Tera got bitten. I told them I shot her.”
I thanked Ollie for that, and Mike nodded again, “yeah that’s true that he might feel threatened. But, Daniels is kind of a pussy fundamentally. He went out on skis the day of the Christmas attack and hid in the fucking woods when Sean’s assault on you guys went to shit. He wound up skiing the entire way back here over twelve hours that night.”
Captain Snowpants revealed. Turns out he’s Lieutenant Snowpants.
“Harsh. Funny that Sean left him like that to die. If we had found your Lieutenant, we probably would’ve killed him though. That assault went bad on our end too, one of my guys accidentally shot a few of your men when they went to surrender. Sucked.”
Mike nodded, “part of the job right? Those guys were all big time Sean people. Few of the local cops, some hunters who thought they were bad mofos. To be honest, they were as much a danger to us as they were to you guys. Fuck em.”
I grinned, “Mike they weren’t much danger to us. That ain’t saying much. Keep in mind as well, Sean torched a building in town the other night that had at least a hundred and fifty people in it, and I lost friends. You can tell that to Daniels too.”
“I don’t think he did that.” Mike shook his head.
“What? He had to have done it. The place completely exploded. Lit up the night sky like a roman candle for hours. This is right after the gas station explosion. Can’t be a coincidence.”
“He was here in town that night, all night. He was trying to get everyone at the school all motivated to go after you for a final assault. He almost had Daniels sold on a full frontal attack a few days ago, but Jeff balked, said it was logistically impossible not knowing what kind of force you guys had. Shit we’ve got less than forty people now and Sean said you had as many as thirty.”
We talked more about it, and the more we did, the more it seemed like Sean didn’t have anything to do with the explosion. Mike and Ollie both said that everyone was at the school that night. Everyone was present, and accounted for. Which meant… STIG was hit by someone else, or there was a terrible accident. I don’t know. I guess if Sean is off the hook for that, that’s sort of good. But… He still tried to have me killed, and he still blew up my fucking gas station. Justice or gtfo.
After about fifteen minutes of debate, I settled on the idea that a staged cordial ambush where we came across as friendly more than dangerous was a good idea. Mike seems to really have a good head on his shoulders, and I think he’s on the level with me. Ollie seems a little stupid, but he’s about 25 and skipped college from what I understand, so he’s doing pretty good helping his dad with the farm. Sometimes simple is just what you need. As it turns out Ollie has been staying at the school because there’s a girl there he’s pining for. No evil at hand with that I guess.
So Mike and Ollie faked the first ambush today. As they said, they just left all the shit here back at the farm and when they got back they went straight to Daniels and hopefully persuaded him to see the light. No word on that yet, but I’m getting way ahead of myself here suddenly. I feel like I drank ten energy drinks. I’m vibrating here. All over the damn place.
I left the porch meeting pretty happy with how it went. I shook everyone’s hand, politely stepped around the back of the barn, and got the fuck out. I left immediately. I didn’t want to risk that being their chance to get behind me, or get to my vehicle to fuck it over. They hadn’t though.
When I got back to campus (moving all the damn nail boards on the way) I filled Gilbert and all them in on what went down. He agreed with my big swinging dick plan. Any other way I could’ve played it would’ve either been too threatening, or would’ve played my hand as being not strong. Gilbert was sort of on the fence about it. It’s risky to put us in that light. It’ll either show Daniels we mean business and we want to be allies, or it’ll show Daniels that we are scary, and need to be destroyed. Guess we’ll find out shortly.
Oh yeah, I ran over two more zombies on Route 18 on the way back. Looked like they were headed towards Westfield from downtown. I wonder if I dragged them away when I left in the morning. No way to know I guess.
I slept like a stone in the living room last night. Been exhausted from all the activity this week. I slept well, and had no weird dreams that I remember. That’s a big plus. I am so sick of the LSD dreams. Shit is getting old Mr. Journal.
I booked my ass back to Westfield this morning after refilling the Tundra’s gas tank out of big blue. I’d eaten up all my fuel jugs and the gas tank going back and forth like this. It was a somber reminder how fucked we could be for fuel if we don’t start figuring this out soon. I mean fortunately we’ve still got the spare barrels stashed around campus to use, but we really need that fuel to keep the generator going for the furnace. I haven’t been able to figure out if the solar panels are helping or not either. They’re mostly covered in snow at the moment too, which isn’t helping I’m sure. They are self heating or something as well, which is probably why they’re only partially covered with snow. Shrug.
I got to my parking spot in the ‘burbs of Westfield at around 10am again. I hoofed it to yet another location a few houses over from the very first house I sat up in. This house was a fat ranch right on a street corner about five hundred yards from the school. I could see almost all the way to the end of the street where it turned off towards the farm too, so the spot was nice. I saw the truck go by at 3pm, right after a chubby zombie slipped and ate shit in the road. It was funny watching it try to get to its feet in the packed down slush. We had a warm night last night, and the roads they plowed are all gooshy now. Too funny. As before, I left the zombie to wander off.
Mike and Ollie returned back through town late. That made sense if they were going to fake an ambush. I got some radio traffic as they made the turn onto the road I was on. It was Lenny.
“Anyone listening today?”
I waited about thirty seconds before responding to him. “Yeah Lenny, what shaking?” I was casual.
“The boys are headed back to the school now. They’re going to talk to the Lieutenant when they return. They’re gonna tell him you’ll be available tomorrow on this channel at noon. Sound fair?”
“That sounds perfect Lenny. I appreciate all your help with this.”
“My pleasure son. Trying to do the good Christian thing.”
I had to smile. I wasn’t religious in the least but I can appreciate the idea of being a good person. I know I’ve failed at that many a time, and to hear that he was trying to right by others sort of warmed my heart. I said goodbye, and after waiting an hour to make sure things were quiet, I got the fuck out of town. Noticed it was lighter much later as well today. Maybe it was just because of the timing of my exit, but it seemed lighter later.
The trip home was a little messy. As I said it was kind of warm, and we got a little bit of rain. I got a wee bit paranoid when I made the turn onto Auburn Lake too. It got foggy once the elevation increased a little. As I’ve mentioned before, I fucking hate fog. I hated it even more because I actually frigging hit a walking zombie on the way up the hill. The bastard was just plodding along and I was doing about 25 miles an hour. Launched him into the fog ahead so far I couldn’t see him. I crept forward until I saw him trying to get up. I aimed for him and ran his ass over. Definitely didn’t want to get out of the truck in the pea soup bullshit. NofuckingthankyouMr.Journal.
I told Gilbert about the recon today, and the faked ambush, and he seemed pleased with it. Gilbert’s always thinking so far ahead on shit. I bet you anything he’s already got plans for us for spring. Wily fucker that Gilbert. In retrospect after our mistrust bullshit I can totally see how his actions can be misconstrued. He literally is always looking at every angle, and only reveals his hand when necessary. I bet that guy is a royal bitch at the poker table.
So like a giant human rubber band, I am headed back to Westfield tomorrow in the hopes that our friend the Lieutenant Daniels (read: Snowpants) drops me a cordial line and we can speak amicably. It’s my sincere hope Sergeant Mike and Ollie can persuade him to our side. I desperately want this to end with as little bloodshed as possible.
I gotta tell you though Mr. Journal, I am feeling good about this. I don’t even care about the jinx factor. Fuck it. Mike, Ollie, and Lenny all seem like really good people to me. I’m a good judge of character too I think. They seem like down to earth straight shooters who have had enough of all this bullshit.
I hope they see me for the same.