I have good news, and I have bad news.
The good news, is that the Outsiders haven’t come into town since our encounter at the small dealership.
The bad news is, that fucking church was FILLED with undead. I mean just completely filled from pew to pew and stained glass window to stained glass window with the dead. It was such a bad scene.
When we rolled out the other day to set up our blockade/fake ambush it turned into a nearly all day affair. None of the cars there would start at all, so we had to push the vehicles manually into place to set it up. As it turns out, it was a real bitch. There were trucks, cars, a van, and a fair amount of debris from the accidents strewn about the road, and we orchestrated it all into a clearly intentional roadblock. We wanted anyone who drove up on the area to SEE that it had been arranged in such a fashion. We wanted them to take the secondary side road past Gilbert’s warehouse, making them think we’d created a choke point right off the interstate.
Oh shit I should mention that it was really heavily populated with undead that day. I was in the HRT driving lead and I swear I hit at least thirty or forty undead on the trip over. I’m not sure what exactly stirred them up like that, but they were out in force. Irritating. Plus it was a bit of a hassle to post two or three folks on watch to make sure they didn’t sneak up on us and quite literally bite us in the ass. Fucking undead.
Anyway, the bulk of that day was lost to pushing cars around in the middle of an abandoned road, in an empty suburb of the city. Felt like a huge waste, but really we did get a lot accomplished with just a few folks.
After that we fell back to the ambush site we wanted to prep, which was the large house, and the church with the cool bell tower. Reminded me of the elevated shooting position at the end of Saving Private Ryan. The one that gets blown up by the German tank? I do hope that we don’t blown up by a tank though. That looked shitty in the film.
So we pulled up and made the decision to check the two buildings, then clear the house, which totally didn’t happen in that order. When we did the once over on the house it was clearly empty, and when we slightly approached the church, we saw the front door flex slightly, and one of the small panes of stained glass break out. Luckily, stained glass is really durable shit, and it held the nearly bursting church from spilling out into the street.
We knew right then and there we had to do something about the church. Even if we wanted to move to another place to set up an ambush, after looking through the windows, we observed a minimum of sixty undead inside. It was reckless to leave any structure filled with that many undead without doing something about it. It was just too dangerous, and we had the simple moral imperative of dealing with a threat to the public. Granted, the public more than like likely wouldn’t be us, but it would’ve been a dick move to leave these undead behind, just to have some family trying to make their way in the world get eaten alive because we wanted to avoid a tough clear. Gotta do the right thing sooner or later.
We started brainstorming. Once again the solution of “kill them with fire” was brought up, but once again it was shot down. The last thing we needed was to have a church filled with flaming undead running around. There’s got to be a joke in that sentence somewhere. If we had a reasonable assurance that the fucking exterior walls would hold long enough for them all to incinerate and die we’d be setting fires all fucking day, but that’s just too much of a risk to take. Plus we really wanted to use the structure afterward, and burning it flat seemed really fucking counterintuitive.
Enter Gavin’s chainsaw suggestion. We’ve kept chainsaws in our vehicles pretty much all the time for months now. We’ve anticipated cutting holes into buildings and there’s always the threat of downed trees, or telephone poles to contend with. Chainsaws are just awesome to have around. I miss Gavin by the way. Thought I’d share that while it was on my mind. Makes me think of Abby and how much she probably misses him.
Blake and Martin were on the crew with me that day, and we formulated a few good spots to make some holes in the building. Cutting the roughly ten inch square holes was easy. Making sure they were at head height was also easy. What we didn’t expect was how many holes we had to cut to keep the tactic viable. In a small house, cutting a hole in the wall is a great idea. At most you’re going to have what? Five, maybe eight undead at the heavy end in a house? You cut a hole, pop them as they come at the hole, and before long, you’ve got a cleared house to plunder.
However, when there are a few dozen undead all scrambling to get at your shit through a tiny hole in the wall, they tend to congest up, and then after they’re shot, they pile up, preventing the other undead from getting close to the gun port you’ve made. Thus, you need to cut a new hole in the wall about ten or fifteen feet away to draw them away from the first hole, allowing you a better shot at the remaining undead still inside. It’s a fucking chore. Thankfully, it is reasonably safe to do.
Reasonably safe is such a misnomer nowadays. How safe is using a chainsaw to cut holes into a building that is filled with the animated, ravenous, murderous dead? I mean at best it’s still ridiculously fucking dangerous, but nowadays, it’s kosher. No biggie. Easy peasy.
We did have that shit on lock down, which I am personally thankful for. It did take a few hours shy of forfuckingever to get it done, and once we were sure the majority of the undead were dead inside, we still waited a half hour to see if there was any movement before kicking in the door. I should say that the outside of the door was barred too. Like someone who happened across the building after the fact, or left the building when everything was going south took the time to make sure the people inside couldn’t get out.
I wonder if someone locked living folks inside, or dead folks inside? Something that probably kept some people up late at night I’d imagine. No matter how you slice it, it had to have been fucked up shit to deal with.
I feel bad for them.
When we waded slowly into the church it was one of the most horrible scenes I’ve ever laid eyes on. The sun was going down at that point, and the light came through the stained glass windows like a multi colored laser. It was surreal. Blake and I went in as a pair with the rest of the crew outside waiting, and keeping watch should more undead or the Outsiders arrive. I felt very vulnerable as I stepped over all the corpses. I don’t need to tell you how bad the place smelled. Old, horrid gore. Dried feces all over the place, piss stained walls. Just horrible. You wouldn’t think things like that would happen in a church, or any religious site, but I guess it does. Life sucks right Mr. Journal?
We had killed all but three or four of the undead inside the church. Blake and I dispatched them with halligans as safely as we could, and once we were sure everything was okay in the main church room (there’s got to be a better word for that. Main church room? Remind to me to get a thesaurus out again Mr. Journal) we proceeded upstairs and into the side rooms to put down any roamers.
Which we found five of. Couple were locked in a closet and had died of starvation or dehydration, and the other few were just wandering halls. The church was big, very big, and I think it was catholic. There were Sunday school classrooms in the basement, and I think that’s a catholic thing right? Dunno, not a religion guy.
Blake and I cautiously made our way to the stairwell that led to the bell tower, and made sure that was safe too. It was a cramped spiral staircase crammed into the side of the square tower, and it was a bitch for me to get up. I’m just too big a guy, especially when I am wearing the body armor, and carrying weapons and kit. Blake is smaller than me, and he snaked his way up and around the winding stairs like it was nothing. I kept getting snagged on shit left and right.
Long story short, the stairwell was clear, and Blake said the bell tower would be perfect for shooting. He did say we would want to shore up the shooting area with sandbags or bricks, because the wood there was very thin. We took care of that yesterday.
Because the church was untenable as a place to stay for the night we decided to clear the house across the street. Normally we’d never clear a house that size that late at night, but the place looked empty on our exterior search, we didn’t feel comfortable wasting gas on a drive back to Bastion, and plus the trip was long enough to be fairly dangerous that late at night. Not that driving around with Mike and Hector in a Prius is less dangerous. Jesus I’m a terrible decision maker. Why the fuck do these people listen to me? It was the best decision at the time, especially seeing as how it gave us an early start the next day to work on getting the church up to spec.
Fortunately while very creepy, the house was empty. It smelled stale and moldy though. Big complaints from Mallory and Angela on that account. We collectively told the two pieces of Team Vagina 2.0 to act like their namesakes, and toughen up. Wasn’t a really popular suggestion with either woman, but it did get their mind off the smell.
We crashed the night in the house.
Yesterday we used the diesel dualie to yank all of the bodies out of the church and drag them to a small town park a mile or so away to leave them. I didn’t want to start a pyre due to the smoke it’d send out, so for the moment, there is just a gigantic field filled with bodies. Reminds me of a scene from a holocaust movie. Gross. Nasty work that.
Once we had the dead bodies out, and we’d poured two full gallons of industrial disinfectant we found in one of the closets in the church on the floor, we declared the building suitable for use as a sniper hide. Blake and Martin grabbed a huge stack of bricks they saw in the middle of someone’s yard, and we hefted them to the top of the tower one handful at a time to reinforce the flimsy wall our shooter (me) would be behind. Now despite what you see in the movies Mr. Journal, a regular brick wall provides pretty shitty cover. An AK on full auto can crack a cinderblock wall apart in just seconds, and regular red bricks are less sturdy than that. So as you can imagine, a three brick deep wall didn’t make me feel awesome about my position. We are planning on making sandbags to bring back when we return next. The team there now didn’t bring them, which sucks.
Once we were slightly reinforced by the bricks, we set up a second shooter’s hide in the house across the street, moved our vehicles a street or two over to be less conspicuous, and by… lunch time we had both of our places set up. Then the boring shit began.
Lots of waiting, looking at an empty road, and waiting for the Outsiders to come down and say hi so we could shoot them.
Well, that didn’t happen. We sat there all afternoon, evening, and night yesterday, and after rotating a few naps this morning, we headed back to send out the second crew to relieve us. Like a bag of sharp dildos I forgot to tell them to bring sandbags, and I have the sinking feeling someone will die because I forgot to tell them that. I’m long since overdue to get fucked sideways by that bitch ass Jinx Fairy.
I’m flexing my toe to get it ready for pushing. I hope all is well at the church and house for the next two days. They’ll return on the… what? The 15th in the afternoon. If they need help in the meantime, we will respond as a QRF. With clear roads, and little undead to slow us down, I think we can respond to that area in... 40 minutes. Maybe 50 minutes. Not sure exactly.
I hope it’s quiet for them. I’d like it a lot if the assholes at that fucking Factory took a hint, and started searching east, instead of west towards us.
Oh, and I asked Blake and martin if they knew about any diesel dealerships in the city, and both said they’d heard of them, buy couldn’t quite place where they were. I’m gonna check and see if I can find a phone book around here. I know I’ve used most of the phone books to start fires in the stoves last winter, but there’s got to be one in a house somewhere near here. It’s been a long time since any of us were in that area, and memories left unused often fade like colors in the sun. Hopefully something will jar the location of the dealership loose in someone’s head so we can pinpoint where they are, in the event we need to say hi in a very personal, and violent way.