Mr. Journal I feel like I got ran over by a truck today. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Earlier today Patty and I made our first off campus trip in days. We went down Route 18 towards downtown to check out the closest gas station.
I think I woke up around 8am after having yet another night of fitful sleep. No exceptionally strange dreams, or waking up screaming, or worst of all, ugly dreams about Cassie. I think I woke up three times to take a piss, which is unusual for me. I wonder now if I will sleep like shit from now on because I am more afraid of dreaming than I am of dealing with the real world.
Damning revelation if there ever was one.
Patty was up shortly after I was, and we packed a day’s load to head down to the gas station. The weather the past few days has been chilly but not frigid, and there has been a lot of rain. We’ve seen the lake ice crack in places, and the river is high and moving right along. We opted to use the plow to head downtown with. Patty moved with her pistol and the Tac .22, and I went with the Glock, and the M15.
Abby held down the fort while we were away, and Gilbert kept in radio contact. When we loaded the truck we were extra super careful to watch for more roving zombies, but we saw none. On our way out I took a few minutes to check our pyre, which had more or less burnt out in the rain. The smell was righteously fucking nauseating, and we made a pact to return tomorrow to try and get the fire going again to destroy the rest of the bodies.
After that, we made our way down Auburn Lake Road, and turned onto Route 18. The road almost the entire way was clear of zombies. Neither of us spotted anything moving until we were in eyeshot of the gas station, and we were driving very slowly because the road was pretty slick. The recent rain has obliterated the snow where we’ve been plowing, and with the temperature dips at night, the remaining moisture was fairly icy.
Patty spotted the first undead asshole walking through the front yard of a small house. The freak had somehow gotten tangled in a clothesline, and was spinning around and falling down trying to get himself free. I didn’t stop to deal with him, I just wanted to get our mission accomplished.
The gas station belonged to a small chain local to here called Moe’s. Moe’s has maybe twenty places across ten towns in the area. All the stations are the same. Large bays where there are about eight pumps arranged in single file, and a single brick convenience store structure with large glass windows set behind the bay. They are well known with the drinking crowd for having an exceedingly well stocked beer supply. Moe’s sits on a street corner facing Main Street.
The gas station parking lot had perhaps five undead in it. Moving around within 50 yards or so there were about ten more shamblers spaced out sporadically. Patty and I formed a quick plan to ram the undead in the parking lot with the truck, then shoot the foot mobiles from a distance.
I sped up and hit the parking lot going about twenty five miles an hour. Three of the undead were ripped apart by the plow on my first pass across the parking lot, and when I backed around to hit the others, I drove over one of walkers I’d missed, and then smashed the last one into a parked car. The walking corpse was pinned and immobile, and when we got out of the truck I took one of the halligan fire tools to the thing’s head. Poor woman’s skull cracked open like an egg shell. Took me a few seconds to fling the rotting brain tissue off the fireman’s tool.
After that Patty and I picked a street, and we started taking out the walkers moving in on us. There were enough of them around us that trying to kill them with melee weapons would’ve been dicey. Patty took out her targets quicker than I did, which says a lot about how good a shooter she’s become. Accountant shishmountant.
Once we were sure things were settled we checked on the few things we needed to at the station. On every pump there are gauges that tell you how much gas is left in the underground storage tanks. I’m not sure how to read them, but according to the gauges on the pumps, I’m fairly certain that between all three grades of fuel at the station, there is something around five thousand gallons in the ground. Motherfucking huzzah. I busted open the front of the pumps to check for manual hand cranks, and there was no attachment for one. I was really hoping for one. Mike and I talked about a solution to getting the fuel out fast, and we’ll have to try that idea to make this worth it.
To double check the fuel supplies, I went to the small lids where the fuel trucks load the tanks, and using a screwdriver, I popped them open one by one while Patty covered me. I saw the faint reflection off the fuel of my maglite, so I knew there was enough fuel to make a full on retrieval worthwhile. I asked Patty to pull the truck around while I checked the store for remnants.
Two of the large panes of glass on the front of the store had been busted in, and I went to the frames to get a clean look inside. I had a moment of déjà vu when I remembered getting gas here when the shit hit the fan back in June. I remembered pumping my gas covered in blood, holding my shotgun, and I immediately recalled the look of the cashier watching me. Time flies when you’re fighting for your life.
The store had been stripped of everything, right down to the scratch tickets at the counter. Where the people who stole them planned on cashing them in mystifies me, but they were gone. Some folks will fucking steal anything. I didn’t see anything moving around inside the store, so when Patty pulled up to the curb, I opted that we get out of dodge.
Now I love Patty, she’s a wonderful woman, and I’m quite fond of her. However, she is not used to driving a truck with a giant yellow plow on the front of it. When she came up to the curb, she pulled in too close, and clipped a large metal rack that was intended to hold jugs of windshield washing fluid, and sent the damn rack flying straight at me. I had nowhere to go but dive in the parking lot directly in front of the truck, or attempt to leap like Otis over it, and neither of those options happened. I took the damn rack straight in the fucking guts, and got slammed against the frigging brick side of the store.
I had the wind half knocked out of me, and I doubled over holding my midsection. Patty nearly shat herself when she saw me get hit, and she leapt out screaming to lend me a hand. Mercifully, she put the truck in park before she got out. Adrenaline rocks. The damn rack was wedging me against the wall, and I hadn’t gotten it off of me yet, and Patty grabbed the thing with one hand and flung the fucker ten feet. All I could think of was the urban legend of the grandfather who lifted a tractor off his grandkid. Granted this was a little different, but she tossed that hundred pound rack like a BOSS.
She helped me into the truck just as a few more zombies started to come down the street about 50 yards away. We’d attracted attention. Patty stopped and plinked them dead with her rifle, and she drove us away.
I noticed when we were making our escape that daycare building we’d seen the day of the meeting with Brian. Now, I know that building will have undead kids in it. I mean, that’s a given, right? At his point Mr. Journal you and I both know what my luck is like, and it’s easy money that building is filled with a dozen kids permanently stuck at the terrible two’s. Little evil bastards slowly rotting away with heads filled with sharp, murderous baby teeth.
Anyway, in my delirious state of hip and stomach pain, I realized that the daycare building still had all its windows intact, and that very likely there would be baby food and possible formula inside. My greedy little nugget immediately decided that we needed to hit that place to get inside and see if anything was available. The two pregnant girls in Westfield are going to be needing a lot of baby food and formula when the kids are born.
Patty smashed a few more corpses down with the plow blade on the way home. I can’t be certain, but I think I saw some satisfaction on her face. It’d been awhile since we were able to use a vehicle to take some of these fuckers out. I know it felt good when I did it.
By the time we reached campus I was much better, and I got myself into Hall E without too much pain and effort. Of course sitting here right now ten hours later I’m feeling it. I’ve got an enormous bruise all over my side and stomach that looks faintly like the metal grid pattern on that fucking rack. I’m gonna be sore for days. Patty has apologized a hundred times already, and Abby took a couch pillow to her mom’s head for trying to kill me. Funny to watch the daughter scold the mother.
Someone once told me that as we age our children become the parents. I hope this isn’t the first sign of Patty reaching old age. She isn’t that old really. We’re all laughing about it now of course.
Oh… before I forget. While we were away Abby spent some time cleaning up outside trying to gather all the books the zombies brought onto campus with them. She seemed somewhat shaken talking about it. I guess from what she saw, there was no rhyme or reason to the books. Some were Twain, some were King, some were textbooks, some were romance novels, and there were a few coloring books as well. That tells me the books were some kind of symbol, some sort of message to someone. Likely me. I need to think on this at length.
Otis is laying here on my bed with me, across my feet. He is such a godsend for keeping me warm at night. I forget how much heat the little guy puts out. When he’s gone at night, I notice I wake up looking for warmer blankets. I know he’s snuck away and down the hall to Abby’s room a few times to cuddle with her, which is nice. She’s adopted him officially as her pet too, and I can’t read Otis’s mind, but he seems pleased with this.
I spent the majority of today chilling out on the couch in the living room, laying on my stomach. Oddly enough, it actually felt better being on my stomach than any other position. I have come to the conclusion that I am suffering from karma over sharing the story of Patrick getting shot in the ass. He had to be on his stomach, and now I’ve put my stomach time in. Patrick, if you’re out there listening, wherever you might be, I’m sorry dude. But even you gotta admit, getting your ass perforated the way you did is pretty funny in retrospect.
I miss my friends.
If I can move around decently tomorrow, we’re going to get things ready for a return trip to the gas station the day after. I’m going to load all but one of the fuel barrels into a truck so we can restock everything. We’re gonna head down in two vehicles, secure the area, set up our pumping apparatus, which I need to make sure works tomorrow as well, and get every drop we can while we’re there to make the trip worth it. You know... I frigging forgot to check the diesel tank while we were there earlier. Doh. Oh well, can’t be perfect.
I’m gonna hit save here, head downstairs for a glass of milk, pop some ibuprofen and a couple melatonin, and hit the sack. I’m sort of hopeful right now I see Cassie in my dreams again. Maybe I’m finally reaching the point where I am not afraid to sleep?
Or, I just really miss the woman I love most.
Til we meet again Mr. Journal.
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