Authors: Ann Riley
Continuing my walk, I look around to see if there are any signs of who the people are who were here. And of course, there
aren’t. I am by no means a private investigator, but shouldn’t there be evidence or something that was left behind? Can anyone clean up a scene that well?
I hear more leaves crunching and can only hope it’s Marc and Trey.
I squat and remain still. If it is someone following me, they will stop too. Unless they are stupid. In which case they could be. I sit quietly and hear a squirrel chattering. It sees something that warrants an alarm as I can tell by the chatter. He is giving a warning chatter. I look around and see why. A zombie. Of course.
Oh fuck me! Can we go to the woods without fucking zombies?
I sit still and wait to see if it comes my way. Thankfully, it makes a slight turn. I hear a loud, wet whack. I continue to sit and look the way the zombie went. Then I see Marc with his machete. He cut its head off.
I throw my hand up so he sees me. He nods towards his front indicating he is continuing on.
I sit for a few more minutes listening. I hear nothing. If only I could stealthily creep through the woods like Marc and Trey. Yeah, right. I am lucky I haven’t fell down yet.
Felling it is time for me to get up, I check to make sure I have everything back in place, such as my knives and machete. I take a drink of water from my bag and get up to start walking.
Trying to be as quiet as possible is not an easy task for me, especially while I am wearing boots. So I make my steps carefully. I continue heading in the opposite direction Marc went in.
Now, if I was trying to hide something, where would be a good hiding place? Maybe an underground hiding place? I take my machete out and start gently brushing leaves aside. Looking for any sign of an entry. What am I looking for? Hell, I don’t know. I think I will know when I see it though. There shouldn’t be anything out in the woods man made unless a man has been out here.
I keep walking and brushing leaves back. I continue looking all around me so that I am aware of my surroundings. Directly in front of me is a huge oak tree. I stop in front of it and stare. Something is not quite right. Scanning over the tree, I can see notches cut in the bark about half way up from the bottom of the roots. Still, I stare. What is there? Something isn’t right, but I can’t figure out what. Angling my head slightly to the right and still staring at the notched bark, I suddenly see what is out of sorts here. Bingo! I found what I was looking for.
By noon, the reinforcements on the fence continues. Mitchell and I have gone around the perimeter and repaired the damage. We added guns and ammo in the loft of the barn and are planning on putting look outs in there. We got all the animals fed and in the stalls. Suddenly, I hear static on my walkie talkie. It’s Tammy.
“We got a visitor.” Tammy says.
“Oh yeah? Walking or driving?” I ask her.
“Driving. A white van. How ironic. It looks like a kidnapper van they use in movies for the bad guys.” Tammy snorts.
“Funny. I’m on my way.” I tell her.
As I leave the barn, I see Mitchell heading toward me.
“Ready?” He asks.
“I guess. I wonder who these wahoos are?” I ask him.
“Someone looking for a handout, maybe?” He asks.
“Maybe.” I say.
As we approach, we see Tammy with her gun aimed directly at a man who apparently had started to get out of the van but thought differently when he was confronted with a 30 30 rifle aimed at him.
“He won’t tell me who he is or what he wants.” Tammy says.
“Of course not.” I say sarcastically.
“What do you want?” Mitchell asks the man.
He looks to be well kept. I mean, he is clean and well fed as he weighs about 300 pounds. He has long black hair and a beard. He doesn’t look dirty.
“I live close. I wanted to come and introduce myself.” The man says.
“You don’t say?” Mitchell sarcastically replies.
The man smiles.
“So what do you want? You didn’t answer that question to suit me.” Mitchell says.
“My name is Robert. And, as I said, I wanted to come and introduce myself.” He says.
“Fine. Nice to meet you Robert. Now leave before I tell my wife to help you along in your van.” Mitchell says.
I try not to snort. Mitchell is not violent. He is a fairly religious man. I have never seen any violent tendencies in him. Well, until now. I guess the zombies have a way of bringing that out in all of us.
“I wanted to see if maybe we could barter with each other. Trade stuff that we may find of use.” Robert says.
“Like what?” Mitchell asks.
“Well, I need food. I have weapons I can trade for food and water.” Robert says.
“If you have weapons, why have you not armed yourself and went into the city to stock up on food and water? That sounds a little odd to me.” Mitchell states.
“I can’t leave my wife. She is sick.” Robert says.
“How sick? Bitten sick, toxo sick or just sick?” Mitchell asks.
“She has cancer and is unable to get out and about, so I won’t leave her alone for too long.” Robert says.
Mitchell looks at Tammy and me.
“Would you like me to take a look at her?” Tammy asks him.
“What? He asks.
“I am a nurse. We also have other nurses here.” Tammy says. Intentionally leaving off the fact we also have a doctor. Doctors are like a hard to come by commodity now and we don’t want people to know we have one.
“Could you? She is in pain and we have no pain medicines for her.” Robert says.
“Can you go get her?” I ask.
“I won’t be shot when I come back will I?” he asks.
Tammy snorts. “Not unless you try to shoot us first.
Miss Comedy at her finest.
Over the last ten years or so of Tracie’s and my marriage, I have become more familiar with her family.
They are outspoken and in some instances, quite entertaining. They can talk about each other and point out each other’s transgressions, but outsiders will find themselves getting their asses kicked for talking about anyone in the family. I always tell Tracie to mind her business. She always tells me it’s her family and she will say what she wants when she wants and if they don’t like it, they can kiss her ass because she is still going to let them know when they are fucking up. That’s my wife. Full of sarcasm and no filters on her mouth. Someone who will help you as long as you are helping yourself. Someone who, if you ever cross, would rather cut your head off than be anywhere close to you. Someone who never minded trying to climb over me in the car as we sat in a drive through at the window while the cashier told her she was not going to use a coupon because she didn’t tell her at the speaker when the order was placed.
Yep, that’s my wife. And let’s not forget the cashier at the grocery store not long after we started dating. Tracie said the girl was flirting and smiling at me. I didn’t notice. Well, Trace did. So she proceeds to tell the girl that this is a checkout line and the only damn thing she should be checking out is the food on the conveyor belt. Being someone who does not like public confrontation, had I had a hole to crawl into, I would have done just that.
So twenty-four wonderful years later, yes I am kissing up because I know she will read this, I am still uneasy when we are faced with someone being an ass because I know that no matter how big of an ass they think they are, my wife can throw shit back at them to make them cry. And her sister and her are just alike. Kelley is also the same way. Tammy is a little more understanding and Marc, well, let’s just say that if you ask for an ass kicking, he is the one to oblige you.
Tammy, Mitchell and I stand around at the gate waiting for Robert to come back.
“Looks like he is coming.” Tammy says.
Mitchell and I look up and see the van.
“Is this a good idea?” I ask Mitchell.
“We will have a guard on him.” Mitchell says.
“Fine.” I say.
The van pulls into the driveway and stops at the gate. Mitchell and I go to the van, guns ready, and tell him to get out. He steps out and we look around inside. His wife is in the back in a hospital bed.
“Let’s go.” I tell Robert.
He gets back in to drive the van to the house. Tammy leads him around to where they have made a mini medical facility. Doc comes out along with Lauren, his nurse, and Tammy fills them in.
Doc walks over to Robert and shakes his hand.
“What kind of cancer does she have?” Doc asks him.
“Ovarian cancer. Stage two. She was in the process of chemo when all this shit happened. She ran out of pain medicine and of course we couldn’t get any more.” Robert says.
Doc goes over to Robert’s wife and introduces himself.
“My name is Doc. At least that’s what everyone calls me now.” He says.
“My name is Rosa.” She says.
“Let’s get you inside Rosa and get you comfortable.” Doc tells her.
Robert rolls her bed out and Mitchell, Robert, Doc and I manage to carry her inside.
Tammy is waiting with the IV bag and pain medication. They get Rosa in and make her comfortable.
“Thanks to you all. I just want her to be comfortable. Her chemo was working well before the zombies came. I hope it isn’t too late.” Robert says.
We don’t reply. What the hell can we say? That besides the threat of being eaten by zombies, people still have to face other diseases? How fucked is that?
I turn to walk outside and look over to my left. A fucking horde of zombies coming our way. I get on the walkie talkies and alert everyone.
Damn. Not one day with a peace of mind.
I stand and stare at the tree. About midway up, barely visible, and well-hidden I might add, is a damn surveillance camera. It appears to be operable as I can see the dim red light that caught my attention to start with. So now I am on video. I immediately start looking around. Where are Marc and Trey? I don’t hear any rustling leaves.
Feeling very vulnerable to attack now, I start pulling weapons out. Just what I need. A band of idiots that are also tech savvy. And how did they get the camera in the tree? My gut says that it is set up inside the tree in a hollowed out area of the trunk and connected to a battery backup.
Suddenly, I hear leaves crunching. I tilt my head a little to try and see which way it is coming from. Seems to be from the right. I take a knee and slow my breathing so I can hear better.
I hear more crunching. Then I spot the culprit. A wild boar. Well little piggy I hope Marc doesn’t see you or we will have fresh ham and bacon for breakfast.
The boar roots around in the dirt. He hasn’t spotted me yet. Will he charge me? Attack? The amount of information I know on wild boars would fill a thimble. I should have stayed at home.
I continue to sit quietly waiting for my new pet to leave, or at least go the other way.
Then I hear a noise coming from my left. For the love of Pete, what the hell is it now?
I look around in time to see a sprinter heading towards the boar. Now, the sprinter may be faster than a walker, but is it really faster than a boar?
I throw a stick and it hits the boar right in the ass and it takes off running. Me being an animal lover, I can’t just sit there and let the boar be a side dish for the zombie.
The sprinter takes off after it.
Run little piggy, I think to myself.
The boar stays ahead of the sprinter. Not far, mind you, but ahead. Then I see the sprinter stumble and fall. It has an arrow in the back of its head.
Marc? I can only hope.
Had I known the zombie apocalypse was coming, I would have honed my hunting and tracking skills.
Who knew? My pre-zombie job was technical support. Customer care supervisor to be exact. I worked for a company that provides protection plan coverage on equipment to clients like satellite service providers, cell phone providers and a few others. I worked on the satellite equipment account. I can tell you and show you how to install and get a signal on your satellite. I can help you resolve any issues you may be having with equipment, I have so much knowledge in my brain related to satellites, error codes, types of equipment, where the signals come from and so on. So I should be able to track my nephew, right? Yeah, right.
Then I see, it isn’t Marc. It’s a… mountain man? Grizzly Adams? I can see by looking at the man that he has apparently not had access to any personal hygiene items since the zom poc.