Posts Tagged ‘ MRE ’

zDay 41 – Safe?

It never ceases to amaze me how a human can adapt to anything. Even when presented with the most dire circumstances, people find a way to make things “normal”.

Normal. That’s a term I use lightly.

How can anything be considered normal? I equate normal to being comfortable and I’m certainly not comfortable right now. Grand Rapids reminds me a lot of Duluth. Course a lot of cities and towns in Minnesota look alike. Sure would have been interesting to visit a big city like Minneapolis or St. Paul. Maybe not now but you know. I’m kinda kicking myself for not doing so before. Fuck. There’s a lot of things I wish I had done. Oh well…

We’ve been here for a few days now. I was half expecting this city to be another forage into Waco but thankfully we happened upon some rather stand up folks here. I’m not sure of what’s going on in the rest of the city but these people got their shit together. They had cleverly set up shop along the Paper Mill Reservoir in a factory next to the bridge. They’ve sealed off the other side of the bridge and have created a perimeter using a series of obstructions from cars to heavy machinery creating a decent wall around the immediate area. The parking lot in front of the factory serves as sort of a staging ground with the factory itself being a lock down fortress. We saw it from miles away. It’s hard to miss actually. They have the area well lit with flood lights so we were kinda drawn to it like moths to the flame. There’s a steady plume of smoke that emanates form the factory making it look like a giant cabin. It draws a lot of attention from the deadheads but from what I learned later is it’s part of their strategy. We had come in along the banks on the other side of the reservoir. We were spotted by sentries they had posted immediately. We had been traveling so long that I didn’t even try to escape. I guess the fact that we weren’t immediately fired upon was a good sign.

They sent a small armed fishing boat across to us and helped dispatch some of the local nasties that had started to gather. We were greeted by an older black gentlemen named Benjamin Jones. He looked as though he’d seen his fair share of  grief in the past month but welcomed us aboard with a proud smile and open arms. They didn’t look like military but their operation was quite professional. There are 24 of us in total here. Everyone has a job. Everyone contributes. I guess that’s where the normalcy comes into play. I’ve never been much of a leader. I’ve always felt most at ease just going with the flow. For the past however many days I’ve had to make some really tough decisions… some of which have been awful… a few good. It’s very taxing to say the least. I suck at being responsible for others so it was refreshing to have a group of people that knew how to do the job correctly… or at least it looks like they do.

I’m still not too sure about Joesph though. Yeah, I managed to fish that name out of him a couple of days ago. Well I didn’t but Anna did. One day while we were camped out on a rooftop in La Praine waiting for a scavenging mob to pass us by he finally started to talk – to her. I’m not exactly sure how comfortable I am with that but I overhead him say his name was Joesph… Joesph Barnes. We still haven’t exchanged words since that day but he’s been tagging along ever since getting all buddy buddy with Anna. She doesn’t see the potential threat he poses. I mean why not, he looks like someone’s grandfather and talks in a soft baritone voice. There’s something about him though. Something distant in the way he just gazes at things – at people. We’ve all lost so much in this ordeal but I can’t help but think his train left the station a long time ago.

Oh well. He hasn’t done anything detrimental as of yet so I guess I can’t crucify the guy for doing nothing. But I’ve definitely gotta keep Anna away from him…

So here we are now going about living the way we have to now. I can’t knock it though. It’s good to have some structure back in my life. I have bank patrol in a couple of hours then I’m on burn duty after dinner. Yes burn duty. They actually burn the bodies that start to pile up so as to not promote disease. No one’s exactly running the sewage treatment plants anymore so you kinda have to make due. Letting the bodies accumulate also poses a threat of breach because these dumb fuckers just keep marching forward stepping on the bodies of their fallen comrades. If you let it go for too long they’d eventually have a ramp of bodies to walk right over the walls with. We can’t very well toss bodies into our water supply out back either so burning is the only option. It’s quite a horrid odor… even more than the stench that’s already in the air but you get used to it. It’s a small price to pay considering.

I’m thinking about talking to Jones tonight and seeing if he’ll disclose how he got things set up here. Perhaps it’ll be beneficial to others around the world if they had a sorta guideline of how to defend. He’s a man wise beyond his years. Oddly enough he doesn’t even consider the zombies the biggest threat. It’s the looters he’s more concerned with. This whole compound is more geared towards fending off people than the undead.

“Zombies march, moan and eat. That’s all that’s on their minds. It’s the living human mind that keeps me up at night.”

A man after my own heart.

Advertisements

zDay 34 – The Road

It’s been a while since my last update as you can tell. Let’s just say that circumstances prevented me from being able to do so. Girl and I remained at the cabin for 4 days after my last post. Thankfully I don’t have much to report about our stay there. Like I mentioned earlier it was downright peaceful considering the circumstances. We both ended up getting some much needed rest. I was really tempted to try my hand at some hunting but that would be like trying to piss up a pole. I can just imagine myself sneaking through the forest trying to pick off some wildlife with my peashooter. It would be comically pathetic. The extent of my “hunting” goes as far as a rod & reel. I lacked the proper  equipment to do that either. When the MREs ran low it was time for us to hit the road once again.

She was in good spirits and looking better than she has since I first met her. She’s still hobbling about so getting her out of the forest was a bit of a task. She’s a little thing but my God, after a few miles she gets to be quite heavy. We’ve bonded a great deal over the time we’ve been together though. She still hasn’t spoken a word yet but she listens to everything I blabber on about. Maybe I’ll get her to do some entries here. Might help her to cope with what’s going on. It’s amazing how much her eyes can convey. So much compassion. So much concern, attention, conviction. It’s unfortunate that this ordeal has forced her to grow up so quickly but she knows she can trust me.

Nothing like a bit of pressure, huh?

I really should name her. Listen to me. I’m starting to sound like the kid who found a puppy on the way home from school. Am I really that awful for wanting to “name” her? It’s getting really weird referring to her as Girl or “hey” all the time. You know what? Screw it. I’ll call her Anna. That’s the first name that popped into my head so that’ll be what I call her from now on… unless she tells me different.

I’ve lived in Minnesota all my life and had never been to Grand Rapids. I know. It goes against everything I’ve been saying about avoiding large cities but we have to get there. We started seeing a disturbing pattern as we came across some of the smaller townships. They were either completely ransacked or transformed into makeshift forts. Let me tell you this, they aren’t accepting new residents either. We got our first taste of that in Aurora. I suspected something was afoot when I didn’t see too many active deadheads in the area. Much like Two Harbors you can tell where people are holed up by the amount of dead bodies lying about. I don’t know if they’re somehow learning and staying away from these areas or if these hunkered down trigger happy yokels are simply laying waste to everything in sight. Either way I knew it wasn’t good news. We approached at night. I had Anna take cover inside what remained of pizza shop while I scouted area out. It was safe enough for her and I wasn’t going to be long so I headed out.

Many of the main streets and buildings were barricaded with an assortment of debris stacked two men high. Cars, mailboxes, signs… basically anything they could get their hands on it looked like. I noticed however that they weren’t secured with much more than just some ropes and chains. It’s obvious that these fortifications aren’t meant to keep the living out because with the exception of a sentry or two stationed at key spots a child could easily scale them. I broke into the side entrance to place called Dino’s Bottle Shop. I dunno why that name sticks in my head. Apparently a locked door is as good as a barricade when you’re dealing with the undead because there wasn’t anything else blocking my way in. From inside I was able to get a glimpse of what was going on behind the walls. The smell of beer and arrogance was rank in the air. It even overpowered the ever present stench of the dead. I guess these boys had a bit of overconfidence. Aurora is comparable in size to Two Harbors so I doubt they had much of an onslaught to contend with. Heck I betcha half these chicken-humpers had guns anyway and were looking for a reason to shoot something.

I can’t believe I said that. I don’t like what this whole situation is turning me into.

Anyway, I wasn’t about to press my luck and silently left the same way I came in. Course I broke the lock to get in… I hope that doesn’t cause problems for them down the road…

We stayed off the main roads for a long while and headed West. The activity seemed to pick up quite a bit so once again we tried our best to stray away from populated areas. After a few miles though I decided we needed some transportation if we were going to make any headway so we made our way back to the 169. The highway was choked with vehicles but finding one that not only had keys and gas but a drivable path out of the clutter took some time.  I did eventually come across a Mazda 3 that was still in pretty good condition. It managed to stay clear of the many fires that had apparently spread from car to car. There were several charred remains outside of it though and a body inside. It looks as if whoever was driving smacked into the guardrail and got swarmed. As I pulled her corpse out I was anxiously waiting for the eyes to pop open and her to come at me. She didn’t have any open wounds that I could see. In fact the car wasn’t even breached until I smashed through the driver-side window. Her eyes were sunken and tongue swollen. Sadly enough she looks like she died of dehydration… too frightened to even leave the car. As I laid her on the ground I couldn’t help but think back to the old man and his child that I saw in front of the hospital. A chill rocked me to my core as I began to wonder if that was the fate I had in store for myself and this little girl by getting in this car.

Navigating the highway was a task. Whenever we had to slow down and work our way through blockages I was anticipating an ambush. I even had to have her drive at some points while I moved debris from our path. She seemed to enjoy the little tastes of freedom.

There wasn’t much left of Buhl or Chisolm. I didn’t even bother stopping. Didn’t seem worth it. Somehow it seemed to me as though we were chasing the storm. My fears were confirmed when we approached Hibbing. It was a town under siege. You could hear the screams and gunfire a mile away. The road was bringing us right towards the center of town and as we got closer, we saw them.  Hundreds upon thousands of zombies flooding the horizon. I immediately veered off the main road and tried to find a way around. It’s not easy driving in the backwoods, in dark with no headlights with no roads to speak of. We were literally creeping by at a snail’s pace. It was unnerving. After a while the brush was so dense that we couldn’t go any deeper. Luckily we stumbled upon a trail far from the main road. It was probably a walking trail or something. The car could barely fit on the unpaved road but we followed it as far as we could until it brought us to the outskirts of town.

We were on Brooklyn road – wherever the hell that was – when from out of nowhere two people came dashing out from a nearby supply store and began banging frantically on our car. I reached for my gun as Anna clung tightly to my arm. I was so focused on trying to spot the deadheads that I never saw these people approach from my blindside. I fired a shot blindly. I’d become so paranoid of the living that I didn’t even hear their pleas for help until after the bullet splattered the old woman’s brains upon her companion. She slumped down in slow motion as time seemed to freeze for a moment. I looked on in horror as the older gentlemen, shocked by what just transpired stumbled a few steps back, his eyes locked on the gore that now covered him. I was aghast at what I had done. I dropped the gun and it fell between the seat and the door. My mouth quivered as I tried to utter something… anything. The moment seemed to last forever. I didn’t know what to do.

The sound of approaching moans snapped me back into reality for an instant. I unlocked the back door and yelled to the man “Get in!”. He hesitated momentarily until he heard the same thing I did and quickly jumped in back. I put the foot on the gas as I saw them starting to emerge from the darkness, striking a few as I flew down the road. I was insanely nervous. This man was sitting behind me and I feared what he may do. I kept one eye on the road and another in my rear view. He sat there motionless looking down at his hands, weeping ever so inaudibly. I felt sick to my stomach. My head started to swoon as I felt like I was going to pass out. I fumbled around trying to get at the gun I dropped. I couldn’t reach it. Anna squeezed under my arms as I drove and managed to use her wirey little arms to fish it out.  She laid it on my lap and looked back at the old man. He wasn’t even paying attention to what we were doing in the front. She fiddled around in the little Hannah Montana backpack we picked up a while back…

God I hate that little tart.  I hope she didn’t survive this ordeal. Oh my God… that’s just awful. I can’t believe I’m saying these things…

She pulled out a towel and a bottle of water and cautiously offered them to the elderly gentlemen. He didn’t seem to notice her gesture for a bit but when he did he begrudgingly accepted them. She flashed a comforting smile at him and despite how distraught he was forced himself to return the gesture. I still had no idea what to do or say. I just kept driving…

I don’t know how long I drove. Seemed like forever. I watched the sun rise and set. We somehow managed to find the 169 again and took it all the way down to Coleraine before the vehicle said “no more”. The plume of smoke emanating from the hood and knocking in the engine told me we were going on foot once again. Unlike every other towns I’d come across this one was different. It was completely abandoned. A ghost town if you will. It bore the scars of traumatic event but no one remained here. Aside from a couple of stragglers I had to dispatch the town was empty… or so it appears to be. We managed to set up shop inside an old pub a few blocks from the main road. It was easy enough to secure and there was a few provisions left inside that we quickly made use of.

I’m a more than a little uneasy about the way this man has been tagging along. He just follows us blindly as if he’s just doing it by instinct alone. I haven’t turned him away – God… how can I after what I’ve done but I can’t help but have that uncertainty around him. I mean seriously… what would you do? I don’t know if that was his wife, sister or whatever. I could very well be signing my own death warrant by keeping him around. Who knows what’s going in in his head?

I guess only time will tell. For now it’s just another person who won’t talk to me…

zDay 22 – Camp life

Linwood Lake is pretty awesome. I remember taking day trips up here with mom and pop ages ago.  Everything seemed so vast back then. Course everything is when you’re a child. Lemme tell you this.. it’s even more so expansive now. Hiking through Superior National Forest is no joke, especially when you’re ill equipped to do so.  Girl and I managed to scavenge a few things on our way out of Two Harbors. Nothing really remarkable but some necessities nonetheless. She’s been a real trooper. Ideally I’d love to get her to just stay off her feet for a few days but ya know, based on the circumstances that’s kinda difficult to do.

We actually did come across some good Samaritans on our trek north. Somewhere along Highway 44 we were spotted by a three Humvee convoy of soldiers. I thought we were toast when they shined the spotlight on us but remarkably enough they didn’t fire on sight. The commander.. or Sargent or whatever his rank may be,  called down to us and demanded that we identify ourselves. I was choked with fear so I awkwardly yelped out “please don’t shoot”. I suppose that was enough confirmation for them to allow us to approach. I must say there were some tense moments at first. When they saw me with Girl clinging to my back they were more than a bit suspicious. The fact that she had a leg wound as well compounded the matter. They quickly tore her away from me and restrained her. I couldn’t dare resisting too much or risk becoming highway pizza but quickly tried to explain that she hadn’t been bitten and it was a gunshot wound only. He was skeptical but reasonable. He called his medic over to have a look at her. She was terrified but put up a good front. Once again I was feeling pretty useless. With a pair of M4s still trained in on us I watched helplessly as the medic undressed her wound and examined.

I guess they’ve dealt with quite a few bite incidents because he quickly ruled it out and immediately started giving the injury the professional attention it needed. I breathed a sigh of relief once Duke motioned to the other grunts to form a perimeter and watch out for deadheads. I dunno why I called him Duke right now. He never did introduce himself but he reminded me so much of Duke from the GI Joe cartoon I couldn’t help but relate it to him. Anyway, he did say he was from the Marine Safety Office in Duluth and that the city was officially sacked. He and his squad were on the way up to Thunder Bay to link up with some Canadian forces they’d been communicating with for the past few days. Apparently this is a worldwide event after all so everyone is kinda scrambling at this point.

Duke offered us a seat in one of their trucks, but when I looked back at Girl I could see she wanted no part of this. Probably all the hardware that was freaking her out. Or maybe it was that she knew no good would come of it. I kinda had that feeling bubble up in my stomach when he made the offer so perhaps we’re on the same page about this. After a long pregnant pause I sheepishly turned him down. He didn’t seem put off by my response surprisingly but looked genuinely concerned. He asked if I had any protection and I humbly showed him my wonderfully hand-crafted table leg with a chain wrapped and nailed to the top and my utterly useless 3 bullet pistol. He took a look at the dried up gore and remnants of hair on the club and cracked the faintest of smiles.

“Well you look like you’re doing just fine with that one”

He took the pistol from me. Like a pro he pulled the slide back and popped out the chambered round. He then ejected the clip and checked it out. He looked down the barrel briefly and shrugged as if he approved of something. We walked over to the rear storage compartment of the lead vehicle. I waited as he fiddled around with all kinds of supplies inside. A few moments later he hands me a rather heavy camouflage rucksack along with my pistol.

“This is a MOLLE. It should have enough to keep you going for another couple days at least. I threw in a couple extra clips for you as well. Keep it clean and you should be able to use it indefinitely. Just don’t go dropping it all over the place.”

I had no clue what the fuck a MOLLE (pronounced Molly) was but I wasn’t going to turn down the gift. I quickly strapped it to my back and made my way back to the middle vehicle. The medic was just about done patching her up again. He commended me for keeping the wound clean and gave me what looked a diabetic’s pouch with some syringes and a couple vials within it.

Antibiotics. Just in case.

Wicked.

As quickly as they descended upon us, they were packed up and gone in an instant. We stood there and watched as the red lights got smaller and smaller. Finally they were gone and we were surrounded by the ambiguous sounds of the night once again. It wasn’t until daybreak that I was able to fully appreciate what those soldiers gave us. After surviving for what… 3weeks now with little more than the shirt on my back, we now had supplies. Real supplies. Rope, compass, MREs, hydration packs… it was like a survivalist’s stocking stuffer. And bullets. Thank God. I’d been holding on to those last three bullets for the unfortunate even that things got truly dire.

One for them.

One for her.

One for me.

Hopefully it won’t have to come to that now. At least I can take some shots now.  Not like that’d be my first choice. Avoid or bash. That seems to be the most discreet way about going about anything right now. Guns are far too noisy and attract too much attention. I think that’s possibly why Girl didn’t want to go with them. They’re probably heading to a bad ending… which is a shame.

Good luck, Joes.

There’s noticeably less zombies out here. Heck I think we came across maybe 2 since we’ve been in here and that was closer to the city. They seem to go where the “food” is and apparently whatever food was in here is long gone or exhausted. Which puzzles me. There are lots of animals in here. Shit I’ve been dreading encountering a black bear or a pack of wolves but there are other forms of wildlife thriving in this forest but they don’t seem interested. Only living humans. What the hell is it? It can’t be the warm blood or flesh otherwise anything living would suffice. It has to be something!

Oh well… Lord knows I got plenty of time to ponder.

So here we sit, on the deck of a small red cottage overlooking the lake as if nothing was going on out there in the world. The air is fresh and clean here. The breeze coming off the water is chilly, so much so that I’m gonna have to put a jacket on. Maybe we should just stay here? Doesn’t seem like a bad idea considering… but alas… we’ll run out of supplies sooner or later once again and that’ll force us back into the urban areas. I’d love to say we can live off the land but I’m about as skilled at hunting and fishing as I am with car repair. I’m just painfully inept in that department.

Oh well. We’ll see what happens. I’m in no rush and Girl seems to be somewhat comfortable so I guess I’ll just play it by ear.

Stay strong and be safe people.

Advertisements