Don’t Feed the Trolls – Chapter 05
Just when she thought everything was finally settling down, Shelly is once again thrown into the fray. Her friends are stuck on the other side of the Mississippi River, with no weapons, no food, and no chance of survival without her help. Throw in the complete collapse of civilization, extremely limited technology, and hordes of zombies that are becoming more and more sentient every day…
Hey, no one said it was going to be easy, but where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Shelly made sure to update hers just before she left.
Please note: this work contains language and themes that may not be appropriate for young readers.
August 27, 2018
So far, it looks like the message thing should work. We got tired of waiting for it to rain, so we kinda took turns throwing buckets of water at the trees and such. From what we can tell, the mark might get a little lighter as more and more rain comes down, but Larry’s hoping that there will be enough people moving by then, that they can find the marks before they wear down too much. They’re also working out ways of signaling danger to each other. Right now, they’re going with smoke signals. I tried warning them, that really only works when the town has a hill, but Larry thinks that the settlements will be close enough for it to work without. He did say that he would talk to the others about trying for a settlement on a hill though, or at least near enough one that they can reach it in case of an emergency.
BG was at least able to get them to agree to bring in a bunch of tires off the road. A normal pile of smoke will only go so far, but if they’re in big trouble, they can light up the tires and the smoke will be seen for miles all around. Plus, he says the smell seems to drive the trolls away, which is information that Dad and I could’ve really used, so you know, thanks for not telling us that, General Jackass. Muchly appreciated.
Everyone is all packed up and ready to go. Sam said he’s not picking anything up on radar, so we should be on the road tomorrow. Tiny’s been checking on Poppy the past couple days. He took Lori with him last time. They had a bowl of food…and a pair of scissors. They came back half an hour, looking entirely too pleased with themselves. Any bets a troll just got a haircut?
August 28, 2018
Why. The. Fuck. Are. People. So. SLOW?! We’ve made it a grand total of 5 miles today. MAYBE. It’s fucking hot, and these people move like fucking molasses in December. I get that there’s a lot of us now, and that means the going is gonna get slow, but this is ridiculous.
We’re in this small subdivision type area…thing. Not sure what town this used to be, but it looks deserted. I’m writing this while we wait for everyone else to make it in, but God fucking Almighty, they move so slow.
There’s a bunch of little stores all around us, so everyone not on patrol/watch is out gathering supplies. Two of the guys Larry sent with us said they hadn’t gone this far when scouting for supplies, so I’m hoping that means there will be plenty on the shelves. These guys will need food and such to help them hold over while they’re growing new stuff, and we need some to take with us.
I wonder if I should start putting time stamps on these letters? I had to walk away for a couple hours, and a lot has changed. First off, it looks like this is gonna be the first “town.” One of the new people, I don’t know everyone’s name, so sue me, but anyway, he said that since most of the roads are already blocked up with cars, it would be easy enough to use them and the buildings to fence the area in. They’re out working on that right now. There was a recycle place close by, and a bunch of the buildings that are empty can be torn down and used for wall material, too.
Some of the girls are out staking an area they want to use for farming. Everyone else is stripping cars of their engines and tires or helping put together winches. They’re trying dad’s thing about stacking cars upside down on other cars. The boys are having fun flipping the cars. They’ve cut out the seatbelts and are using them to tie the cars into place until they get something better. The hard part, I think, is gonna be where the cars meet the buildings. We can’t put the cars going through the buildings, for obvious reasons, but we can’t leave that space empty either. I think they’re planning on using stuff from the recycling plant for that part, but I’m not sure. It has nothing to do with our main mission, so I’m staying out of it.
Anyway, like I said before, we’re going to be staying here for at least a couple days. Gonna get the walls built up at least. The good part about them doing it this way, is that it shouldn’t take very long to get the wall done. I mean, I’m a little concerned about the trolls being able to climb the cars and/or the buildings, but Vik says the twitching and general loss of motor control should keep them from being able to do anything like that. I’m not so sure – I don’t remember the trolls in the woods twitching when they were running for us, and if they were constantly twitching that bad, I don’t see how our scouts could’ve missed them before. When I told her that, she kinda had this “oh….yeah…” look on her face, like she’d forgotten about that part. She still thinks it should be somewhat safe, but said they’ll double check the backs of the buildings to make sure there’s nothing there that might make it easy for them get a hold and figure the rest of the climbing shit out.
I’m sitting on one of the buildings right now. Keeping Sam company while we wait for the last of the group to make it into town. BG, Tiny, and Vik are checking them as they come in. The ones who still have some juice in them are being put to work on the wall. The rest are being directed to the nearest cleared house.
On an interesting side note, Poppy is in town with us. Lori brought her in. She’s keeping her separate from the rest of the group, which is good, but I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I still don’t think it’s a good idea to have her here, but what’s that saying? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?
Sun is down. Time to hit the sack.
PS: I was right, by the way. Poppy has a new do~
August 29, 2018
One wall done. Your boys move fast. I’ve been put in charge of the civilians, which is fine. I guess? I mean, I dunno. It’s fine. I put them to work today, taking down fences and such. I sent the guys to go raid the stores for metal shelves to take to the people working on the wall. Jay told me this morning they think they found a solution for the gaps between the cars and buildings. They’re taking metal sheets and welding them into the cars, then bolting them into the side of the building.
They’re also starting to work on getting some irrigation going on. That’s apparently the hard part right now, with the wall mostly being made of cars. They don’t want to run any ditches underneath the cars, in case the cars leak any fluids into the streams, but the only other choice they really have is to direct the streams between buildings, and create a gate there out of metal that will allow the water to flow underneath it. I mean, they could also just expand the land to include the streams and/or lakes(?), but we’re kinda working on a time limit right now.
The town is all abuzz. It’s interesting, being part of the team making this happen. I never realized just how much work goes into establishing something like this. There’s people patrolling, people digging out chain link fences from back yards, others are pulling cars out of garages and driving them across lawns to where they need to go.
The houses are all cleared, so that’s good, but now they’re going through and actually making the houses livable and secure. Boarding up the ground floor windows just enough to provide protection, while still letting in air. They’re carting out things like TVs which are useless except for the parts. They have a compost pile going on in the center of the land, with all the expired food they’re tossing out. They’re making rope ladders for reaching the roofs (rooves?) and moving toilet tanks up there.
I did a double take the first time I saw one of them doing that, but one of the girls (Milly? Melly?) said that it’s to collect rain water. Put that way, it actually makes sense, I suppose, but it’s still funny to see toilet tanks on top of houses, I’m sorry.
They’re keeping the basins of the toilets inside the house, but they’re plugging the bottom hole with mud and rocks. I guess a makeshift…I forget the word. Shit pot? CHAMBER POT. That’s the word. God, we really are spoiled back home. As soon as we get back, you guys are gonna have to start sending out teams to help these communities. It’s not fair for us to have all that we do, and they don’t. We need to stick together, Will, you know that. That means helping them, not just ourselves.
More on that later though. If I remember. I was just writing this cause we were all taking a mid-day break, and I figured “eh, why not?” It’s hot as fuck, again. Sam says it’s the humidity. I don’t particularly care. It’s just fucking hot.
Oh, and I discussed it with Tiny and Vik, and today’s gonna be the last work day. From here on out, only the lightweight work, or stuff that has to be done with plenty of light will be done during the day. All the heavy lifting will be done at night. Tiny already passed on the word to the wall guys, which, I think, is part of the reason they’re working so fast to get that done. Once the wall is in place, we’ll all be able to breath a little easier. I’ll tell everyone else after our break.
I’m also pulling them off inside work. Gonna send everyone to the wall to help where they can. Even if all they can do is bring the workers water and fetch stuff, it’s better than nothing. More than likely though, they’ll be put to work slashing tires and draining gas tanks. We’ve already removed most of the tires off the bottom layer cars, but there’s still the other three sides of the wall to get done. The “inside” stuff can wait til we have at last some measure of safety in place, you know?
August 29, 2018
So. Something good about South Carolina, apparently. The ground is like, super soft. We had to hunker down for a little bit while a storm came through, and when we went back to work on the wall, we noticed that a lot of the cars that weren’t on the street, had sunk down quite a bit. We all scrambled to get the tires off the rest of the cars. We didn’t get them all done before the ground started drying, but we got quite a bit, and we can always cart in water to soften the dirt where we need to. Right now, we’re trying to decide if we’re going to tear up the roads or not before we continue with the cars. I voted “no” cause of how much time it’ll take. That can be done later. They can dig it all up, melt it down and pour it along the outside of the wall, for all I care, after the wall is done.
Actually, I think that’s what they’re gonna do. Not sure. I’m finishing up dinner and then taking a nap. I have a midnight crew I have to be up with. We’re going to be moving more of the cars into place, and instead of seatbelts, we’re taking some of the metal hooks and rods from the stores, and bending them to hold the cars together. We’re having more issues of how to plug the windows so trolls can’t get through them, as well as the holes where the roofs are meeting the trunks/hoods. The holes can be plugged using the dug up asphalt, and you know, maybe that’s not a bad idea. We could have some of the people digging up the roads and getting that ready to melt down. We could use the trash from the houses for the spaces in between, and then pour the road stuff on the outside to kinda glue it together…definitely something to talk over with the boys.
Garcia had suggested using some of the crap cleared from the houses to form pikes. They can be bolted into place on the floors of the cars, facing out, so any trolls trying to climb through will impale themselves. It’s a thought, that’s for sure, but I hate the thought of using up all the metal this way. I know they can harvest more from the other buildings, but ugh. The trash though…stuff that can’t be used for anything else…that would work perfectly for filling the holes.
Dinner done. Time for some zzz’s. How’s your night going?
September 5, 2018
Sorry, it’s been a busy couple of days. We got the main walls in place. We’re just going back and plugging the holes now. The houses are all cleaned out, the stores have been raided for planting soil, and the yards have been torn up, ready for planting. The irrigation channels have been dug, and now that the wall work is down to just hole plugging, the boys are working on a second ring of cars that should cover the ponds nearby. They’ve got the bottom ring in place, and will start working on the second layer tonight. I don’t like them being so far from the town after dark, but it’s too hot to be using the winches and such during the day. Plus, with the bottom ring in place, any attacks that might happen will be slowed down a bit.
It’s taking a bit longer to get the second ring done though, cause we realized something we missed when we did the inner walls. The way the cars are tied together, even with the metal being used to hold them now, it’s not the most secure. The boys found a way around this, because of course they did, but they’re having to drill holes through the trunk of the car, the hood, and the bottom of the car on both sides. Then, they have to jack up the cars underneath, and slowly lower the top car and rest it just barely on top of the ones underneath so they can work the cords down and around the bottom carriage of the bottom layer, and tie them off there. It’s taking for. ev. er.
Lori set up a practice range and has started setting up training schedules for people. She’s kinda taken over everything, honestly. She’s documented everyone in the camp town, their names, their skills, any (known) living relatives…she’s got them on a schedule for everything. I can’t decide whether I’m impressed or terrified. She’s proposed the name “Alex’s Call” for the town. She thinks all the connected towns should have “Call” in the name to mark them as a branch off from Zeke’s. I like it, but you have no idea how hard it is to not call her out on the Alex shit. I deserve a fucking medal, I swear.
Anyway, we’re gonna be here another couple days. They start planting tomorrow. You should see the compost pile. It’s huge, stinks to high heaven and takes a whole group of people to turn it over every other day. They’re not counting on it being ready this year, which really sucks for us, but not much we can do. They’re also working on making a greenhouse out of one of the shops. They found one that was more windows than anything else, and are trying to modify it. Putting in a fireplace to keep it warm, and all that good stuff. I’m worried about the fireplace idea, personally, but I checked with Lori, and she already has fire brigade training on the schedule.
I have to say. She might suck at the whole relationship thing, but she’s got a head for this. I told her to make sure she trains someone to take over the group when they move on to the next town. She said she thinks one of the guys, Nate, will be a good fit. He’s kinda geeky looking, but he’s already helped her out a bit, so I guess we’ll see.
September 8, 2018
Talk about a shit week. It’s been raining or storming every day for the past three days. The welding guns are refusing to work, and we’re pretty sure we know why.
See, we’d been hooking all of the solar batteries into one building to run the guns. But the guns are taking up so much of the power, that we’ve only been able to get a couple hours of work out of each full charge. With the storms we’ve been having though, we haven’t been able to fully charge the batteries. So now, every time we try to fire one up, the lights dim in the building, and that’s it. The gun acts like it’s not even plugged in.
I mean, I guess it’s not a huge deal? It’s just that, they’ve been busting their ass to get the second layer of cars ready, and we had been hoping to start fixing the first walls to be more stable yesterday. They managed to get about half of it done? I think…I mean, worse comes to worst, they’re all tied into place, but none of us are satisfied with that. We’re killing time stuffing holes…and WOW, that sounds wrong. But I mean, the holes where the cars overlap, not those holes, and great. Now I miss Scott. I hate you, just so you know. I’m stuck in this mud pit with nothing to do, and the only one I want to do anything with is nowhere around.
Oh, yeah, and to top it all off, Lori just came to tell me that Poppy is acting weird. Well, weird in a weird way…I mean…ugh, how to explain this.
Since we’ve brought her in…she’s been almost human-ish? Like, okay, we’ve been trying to keep her away from the townspeople, cause yeah, she looks human, and acting human, but…no. So, we have her in a house in the center of our group of people, and we’ve been all been taking turns eating with her, and keeping an eye on things, you know? Well, Lori’s managed to recruit half the women in our group to her side when it comes to Poppy, and they’ve all been trying to teach her how to eat with utensils, how to bathe, get dressed, etc.. They’re even trying to teach her to brush her teeth, which has been hilarious (she doesn’t like the taste of the toothpaste, apparently). I caught Tiny showing her some sign language yesterday. He said he’s been doing that for a couple weeks now, and she’s been picking it up fairly well. Too bad none of the rest of us know any ASL, but whatever. It’s a start. The point is, she’s been…okay. She’s been way closer to “normal” than I ever imagined a troll could get.
But then today…Lori says Poppy won’t sit still long enough for anyone to brush her hair, and keeps doing this low grunting sound.
Tiny’s headed over there now to check her out. He took BG with him. We were all having breakfast/dinner together when Lori came in. I hope he’s able to get done quick so he can get some rest. Tiny’s part of the night crew with me. We (him, BG, Jean and I) all meet up for breakfast/dinner to catch up on plans and such. BG & Jean are day crew, so this is pretty much the only time we get to have these fun little “get togethers.”
I have to say, I kinda hope she’s not changing on us. I don’t want to say that I’m getting attached, but it’s more like…if she can be…tamed? I guess? then, maybe others can be, too? I’m just thinking that it would make the world a little safer, you know?
Anyway. Jean just left to get started on the day’s work, and I’m off to get some sleep. Today’s Saturday. We’re hoping to be on the road again on Wednesday, one way or another.
8 9, 2019 I think? I don’t know, my days are all messed up.
I hate these morning/night shifts. I’m all scrambled. The sun is going down, so I guess it’s still technically the 8th? I dunno. Whatever.
Jean and BG said they had a fairly sunny day. One of the batteries is at full charge, but it’s not enough to run a gun on yet. They’re beginning to consider the asphalt idea for gluing the cars together. For now, they took some of the thinner bars of metal and hammered them through the roof of the cars, into the car beneath them. They can’t lift these cars up the way they did the others, so that’s the best they can do for now.
They’re also running out of crap to plug the holes with, so some of us are supposed to go outside the town and start hunting down more crap to shove in there. That should be fun. /sarcasm.
Tiny just left. Said that when he went to see what was bothering Poppy earlier, she kept making the signs for “bad” and “cloud.” He’s wondering if this calls back to the whole sensing electricity or radio waves thing, so he wants to check in with Sam. I already told him about the guys saying it was a sunny day, but he said that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a big storm nearby. If it was close enough, that might explain her “agitation.”
I’m off. Have to get a trash team together, yay!