Authors: Ann Riley
“Yeah. I’ll go.” I yell back.
“You don’t hunt.” Bobby says.
“I’m aware of that. But I want to look around in the area we were in earlier.” I tell him.
“You are going to have a breakdown when they kill an animal and you see it. You know this, right?” Bobby asks me.
“You just lay it all out there, huh?” I ask Bobby.
“Because I know you and I know how you feel about animals.” He says.
Damn. He knows me well.
Now I have to make a plan of going in a different direction than Marc and Trey will go. Do I want to walk alone? I’m not afraid of the zombies. Well, let me clarify. If there are not that many, I’m not afraid. I am more afraid of the idiots we have to deal with now than the zombies. At least I will know the zombie’s intentions. You never know the intentions of people these days.
I finish Riley’s bath and wrap him in a towel. I continue to think about the hunting trip and if I really want to do this or not.
Upon returning to the kitchen, Diane has Remington, my great-great niece, sitting in her high chair feeding her. She instantly starts smiling as I see her. She is a happy baby. I start talking to her in baby talk and she lets out a loud giggle. The sweet little cherub face, dark brown hair and blue eyes has stolen my heart. She continues her giggling and slobbering as I talk to her.
At least there are still good things in this world.
I take Remi out of her chair and sit down at the table with her. Diane comes over to join us.
“What is it?” she asks me.
“What?” I ask.
“I can tell you have something on your mind so spill it.” Diane says.
“Fine. I am worried about this band of idiots across the woods. Trey and I found another trap, so that means they are still trapping on our land.
Which means they have been watching us. I don’t want us to get lax in guard duty. We never know when they will return.” I say.
“Are you going with Marc and Trey in the morning?” Diane asks me.
“Yeah. I plan on going a different direction. I don’t want to see any animals killed.” I say.
She gives a snort.
I hand Remi over to Diane and stand to go get my hunting attire together. Deer hunting has never been my favorite due to the beauty of the prey. And the fact you have to be so quiet. Marc will probably be happy for me to go in a different direction. I’m not known to be graceful when I am trying to walk quietly.
I walk back to our bedroom and Bobby is getting my rifle ready. He has cleaned and loaded it. My best rifle. A Winchester 30 30 lever action with a Night Force tactical scope. He has my Kukri Ka Bar and my nine millimeter Luger hand gun. Well, I have to say he has me set up nicely.
I fall down on the bed.
“You still going?” Bobby asks me.
“Yeah. I guess. It just feels off to me. Like we may have trouble. I have an uneasy feeling about this.” I tell him.
“Maybe none of you should go. Wait a few days, then check it out.” Bobby says.
“Yeah, I don’t think Marc will go for that. His mind is set on hunting and you know how he is about that.” I say.
I take a deep breath and continue looking for clothes to wear in the woods. I set my boots out, coat, hunting vest and a fleece beanie to keep my head warm. Riley sits and watches me as he knows I am up to something. He does not like to be away from me. Yes, he is spoiled and he always goes everywhere with me. But lately I have been afraid of taking him due to all the shit we seem to run into.
I lie down and Riley curls up next to me and Bobby continues to ready my accessories for my hunting trip in the morning.
I set my alarm to wake up early for our hunting trip.
We got up at three in the morning, and I am not an early person so I know that by noon, I will be unbearable to be around.
Trey and Marc were waiting on me at the truck, smiling.
“Leave me alone,” I whine to them.
“You wanted to go, so let’s go.” Marc says.
What the hell was I thinking?
“Fine. Where are we going?” I ask Marc.
“Just past where we saw that house that those idiots are living in. I think if we come in from the opposite way we may be able to see more,” Marc says.
We start our short journey. It is about a twenty-minute drive to where we will enter the woods. Looking around as we drive, we see walkers still ambling around. Some are scattered about, dead, where someone took them down. Or maybe they just died? Doubtful.
Our world has changed so much in the year since the outbreak occurred.
It is almost unrecognizable.
If you didn’t know what you were looking at, you may not even know it was there. We see dogs running about in packs. No doubt at one time were pets. But since they have no human contact now, they will eventually revert to their feral instincts. People have boarded windows and made their homes zombie proof, to an extent. It looks as though we never had human life in some areas. The yards are overgrown with grass. Trash litters the roadside and looking out in the pastures, we can see dead farm animals. Will we ever come back from this?
We reach our destination and get out of the truck. Marc parked it in a wooded area and covered it over with tree limbs in hopes of hiding it from idiots.
I shoulder my gun and walk around to Marc’s side of the truck.
“How long are you staying?” I ask him.
“Not long. A couple of hours. Do you have the walkie talkie?” He asks me.
“So we will walk in together. When we get into the woods, no talking. Use hand signals for communication. If anyone is out there, it will be hard enough for us to hide our footsteps from them. So we don’t need to talk. Trey can go with you or me. Doesn’t really matter either way. But I don’t want him alone.” Marc says.
“He can go with you. You know I am not a quiet person and I don’t hunt so I will have a hard time being deathly silent.” I say with a smile.
“Plus, I don’t want to see any animals taken down.” I say.
“Fine Miss PETA chairwoman.” Marc says.
“Oh shut the hell up. I can’t help that I am an animal lover. Ass.” I tell him.
We head into the woods in a straight line. After about fifty yards, Marc and Trey go left and I go right. I still can’t help feeling that something is not right. It’s just a feeling, but I don’t like it.
I continue my trek. I hear leaves crunching over to my right and look over to see a squirrel scurrying about.
“You better hide little squirrel. Marc is out here.” I tell him under my breath.
Trying to walk quietly in leaves and limbs is next to impossible. The only way I could be completely soundless is if I could hover above the ground.
And unless I have missed something, I don’t have that ability. So I
It’s been a long time since I was in the woods alone. The serene feeling that I always got when I would go and just sit for hours to watch the animals play is still with me today. I was never afraid to be in the woods alone. They were always like a release from the ordinary and a place where I could let my imagination roam. Watching squirrels and deer eat and play is not something very many people have the luxury to do. The people who live in big cities may never get to have that experience. I think everyone should try it at least once.
Just as I make my way around a very large tree, I run right into a walker.
And it scared the hell out of me because I was off on my magic carpet of thoughts.
I start reaching for my knife and finally get my hand on it before he gets close enough to take a bite. I pull my knife back and jab hard through the eye socket.
All of the breakfast contents in my stomach start roiling around threatening to come up. I cover my mouth and take a few steps back hoping to get out of the fog of stench floating around.
As I am backing up from the smell, I don’t see the walker behind me. But I feel a hand wrap around my boot down by my ankle. I look down and see a partial body. That’s all I can call it. There was nothing from the waist down. How in the hell do these things live with half a body?
I kick my foot to release the grip on my ankle and slam the heel of my boot down into the top of the head. I do that three more times until it stops moving. Oh great. Now I have goo all over my damn foot. Great job Tracie, you dumb ass.
Finally, everything around me is quiet again. I can hear distant l crunching of leaves and assume it’s Marc and Trey. I hope it is anyway. The one thing about being in the woods is that you can easily hear anyone approaching. Sound carries and it is hard to sneak up on someone.
I continue my trek through the woods and come upon an area that looks like it has been burned out. It looks like someone may have made a campfire here at one time. There is a fire pit and logs placed around the pit to represent seating.
As I approach, I can smell the remnants of meat. Like over cooked meat. I bend down to look into the fire pit and see bones in it. So apparently someone had cooked food here. I walk past the fire pit and over to my left. I can see a makeshift alarm rope set up around the perimeter of the camp area that has cans hanging on it.
As I round a tree in my path, I see a walker hanging from a branch. I stop and throw up my breakfast. The smell is horrendous. It has no legs from the knees down. It is hung high enough on the branch to make me think that it was a live person when it was strung up and the walkers came and gnawed on it. When I get closer, I can’t see any wound that would result in death. It looks as if the person was hung up to feed the walkers. It turns its head towards me and starts snapping its jaws together. The body is so deteriorated that I can’t tell if it was male or female. I spew my remaining stomach contents again.
Holy fuck, that smell.
Who the hell would have done this? The bastards we are looking for? Why?
Should I leave it? Cut it down? If I cut it down can I kill it without making too much noise?
Son of a bitch.
I look around for something to stand on to reach up and cut the rope. Wouldn’t you know? There isn’t shit to stand on. My machete is not long enough to reach with me standing on the ground. I continue to look. Finally, I see a log over behind a felled tree. As I approach it, I can see I can’t lift it, so I bend down and start rolling it. Where in the hell is Trey when I need him to climb this damn tree?
Thanks the Gods, I finally get back to the tree where the zombie is hanging. I stand the log up long ways against the tree and sort of prop it there so it doesn’t fall. Hopefully.
Well, let’s see if this is going to work, I say to myself. Lifting my right foot and putting it on top of the log causes so much noise. I sound like a bull in a China shop as I crunch dry leaves and chip bark off the tree when the log is digging into it. Fuck me. I casually look around for zombies. Yes, I said casually. No sense in getting in a hurry and making more noise than I am.
Why couldn’t we have vampires, or werewolves? At least with vampires, you have the day hours free and can lock down at night. Werewolves generally change during the full moon. So you have time to avoid these obstacles. However, with zombies, they are like a plague of cockroaches. You can’t get rid of or away from them, they never get full or tired of eating and they stink to the lower pits of Hades.
Shut the hell up thinking Tracie and get on the log.
I lift my other foot up to step on the log when I see no dinner guests coming. I stand there for a minute to get my balance and pull my machete out. The zombie is snapping and growling at me. Wait a minute, when did they start growling? They were just moaning and groaning.
I take my machete in my right hand and try to make a fast enough swing to cut the rope. Of course, I didn’t. It is kind of hard to swing a machete while standing on a log. Try it sometimes.
Shit. I get my balance back and raise my arm to swing again. And I miss and hit the zombies’ fingers. Fuck me again.
I’m going to do it this time. Getting my balance back, I swing up a little higher and bam, the zombies hits the ground. I jump off the log and put my machete in its eye before it draws its friends.
Can I just say when I find Marc and Trey, I will be telling them not to let me go with them anymore.
Well, that was a damn workout in the morning. How can I get into all the shit I do? I should have stayed with Marc and Trey.