Don’t Feed the Trolls – Chapter 08
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.
Sept. 24th, 2018
Writing from the road again. We were able to leave on Monday, but just barely. I didn’t realize how big that place was. I mean, I knew it was huge, but holy shit. I figured we’d have our stuff moved over to the north side of town by Saturday afternoon, and then spend Sunday getting rested up and ready to go. Instead, it took all of Saturday and half of Sunday morning. They put us at the very edge of town where the wall meets the highway, though, so Monday morning, we just had to wait for them to open the gate.
They loaded us up before we left. Corn, carrots, potatoes, rain ponchos and the like, which actually came in handy, cause of fucking course it started raining right after we left. Got maybe two or three miles down the road? If that? And it was a cold rain, too, dammit. I was pissed. The ponchos worked, for the most part though. Our feet and legs still got soaked and were fucking cold as shit, but there’s not really much we could do about that. I thought about raiding a house for some trash bags to put around our feet and legs, but Ty says all that will do is interfere with our traction. If we need to run, it’s gonna be kinda hard to do that, slipping and sliding all over the place.
I wonder if wearing them inside the shoes would work though? Put on socks, then the bag, and then the shoes? The traction on the shoes should still work then, I would think? I’ll have to talk to him about that. I don’t like having cold wet feet. (#spoiled, yeah, I know, fuck off.)
We got pretty far today. Jan and them weren’t kidding when they said they cleared the road. The only reason we didn’t reach town today was cause it was all uphill. Beautiful view though. The house we’re in now has a drop off in the backyard. Lots of tree cover, too, which I’m not entirely happy with, but Poppy isn’t going weird on us, so I’m trying not to let it bug me too much.
An unexpected bonus to our little stay with Jan and friends: LOTS of spices and a couple of those hotplate stoves. Jan said we’d have more use for them than they did, since we have a steady source of power. The boys put that to use real quick. They had us get two big pots of water heating while we walked. Then, first Jean came by with a rabbit already skinned. He started chopping pieces off and tossing them in the water. Then Mike came by with another one, and Garcia dumped a bunch of spices in both pots.
When we stopped for a break, Kate tossed in some potatoes and carrots, and we let it slow cook. Yup, rabbit stew for dinner tonight! We had to keep an eye on it to make sure it didn’t tip over, especially with the hills and such, but oh god, it smelled so good.
The house we’re at now had some of that instant Bisquik type stuff in the cupboard and a grill in the garage, so Kim and Tiny are trying to make some biscuits to go with the stew. As soon as they’re done, it’s dinner and then time to sleep.
They just called. Dinner time. Later, Will.
Sept. 27th, 2018
Saluda is gone. Flat Rock is gone. I don’t understand people. In other news, the sun is hot, and water is wet.
Sorry, I’m honestly not sure how I’m feeling right now. We just left, basically, a mass grave. It used to be a settlement. A good sized one, too, just outside of Flat Rock. We were looking for shelter, cause, of course, it was raining fucking buckets out there, and it was fucking cold. The boys found a movie theater. The roof was missing in parts, but the front area was still intact, so we got everyone and the horses inside. We didn’t bother with the wagons. We just grabbed a couple blankets, and set the brake on them. It wasn’t like we needed anything else from them anyway, you know?
Everything was great. Everything was wonderful. We were out of the rain, we were warming up, a couple of the others even settled down for a nap. Then Tiny and Kim had to go and bust our little happy bubble.
From what Tiny can gather, it used to be a fairly large community. They found at least fifty bodies. There was one theater room that was missing a huge chunk of the wall near the top, facing out. It had a burned out area on the ground, so the others think it was used as a cooking room. Quite smart, if you think about it.
The room all the bodies were in, also had two empty cannisters of liquid nitrogen. Tiny said they had found the building a good half hour before the rest of us reached it, but they had needed to make sure the nitrogen was gone enough to be safe. The room they found it in also had holes in the wall, but not as many as the cooking room, and not as big, and one of the cannisters was tipped over. Tiny said that amount of nitrogen in the room – two whole canisters (the other one was open, too) – was more than enough to be responsible for all the dead bodies, and would’ve killed us, too if it hadn’t had enough time to disperse. Tiny was actually still a bit worried about how much might still be hanging around, so he kept one of the front doors propped open the entire time.
He also brought me, what appears to be, a journal kinda like the one I kept on my trip down from NYC. I haven’t read it yet. I’m a little scared to see what I’ll find. Tiny told me about how nitrogen kills a person, and he says he thinks everyone dying was an accident, but just because he thinks that – or wants to think that – doesn’t mean it’s the truth, and I don’t want to find out that we just left the site of a Jonestown type event. Tiny keeps saying he doesn’t think that was the case here, because when they searched the building, they found a decent sized stash of food and bottled water, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to have that much crap on hand if they were planning on offing themselves.
thing is though, what if they had been under siege, and things had gotten too
much for them? People do
stupid desperate things when they’re scared. It’s
not out of the question, you know?
At any rate, we left there. I refused to sleep there, so as soon as the rain let up, we were up and running again. We lost so much time, we ate while we walked, and took turns napping in the wagon. We took a few breaks for the horses, but we pushed them as hard as could. We got to this storage place around daybreak, and said “fuck it. We’re done.” We’ve already slept today away, so we’re gonna hit the road again in the morning. The boys are out breaking into some of the storage units, trying to see if they can find anything useful.
hope we run into another community soon. I need to see people
Sept. 29th 2018,
More rain, but a surprisingly productive day. We’ve had to switch highways though. The one that we were on was taking us straight to Asheville, which, originally, was the plan, with the mountains and all. We found one of those gas station maps though, and there’s another highway that will take us through the mountains, and won’t take us way out of our way.
No lie, I was pissed off at first. I’m getting sick and tired of constantly changing our route. God, I fucking miss cars. This though…this worked out. The highway we found took us through a town, and we found a couple stores with stuff still salvageable. One of them, looks like it used to be a camping supply store. The sign was gone, and half the store with it, but we still found plenty of useful crap. A couple tents, sleeping bags, canteens, tarps. A couple coolers, which, I suppose can be useful later, but right now…meh. Not so much.
We also found more horses. Frank and Mace saw the sign for the stables when they were looking for a stopping place. They’re city boys, though, and were worried about the way the horses might react if there were a bunch of carcasses laying around, but we got lucky. When they checked it out, they only found a few horses there, and they were all alive and kicking. Not in the best of shape, but they’re not starving, either. Doug and Kristine are trying to take care of them now, but they’re barn sour as fuck. I told them that if they can get them ready to be on the road by the time we leave, they can bring them with us. I wish we could give them longer, the extra horsepower would really be good to have, but it is what it is.
Sept. 30, 2018
I’m trying to write more often. I know you said you liked the way I look at things, but there’s not much to tell. We have six new horses. Kinda. Doug managed to get them to let him and Kristine close enough to examine them, but there was just no way to get them ready to go in the time we had. They had gone without care for too long. I had figured as much. We compromised though. There was no way any of us were gonna get a bit on one of those horses, but Doug was able to loop a rope around their necks and tie them in a line. He’s gonna work on them as we go, and worse comes to worst, he’ll just untie them and let them run free. Not a perfect plan, but not much else we can do.
We’re taking a break right now. It’s cloudy, and getting kinda chilly. I am so not looking forward to the coming months.
Sorry, didn’t have time to finish that. Mike brought in some more rabbits, so it’s rabbit stew for dinner again. I got pulled into helping skin and chop. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate skinning animals? Ugh.
Some of the boys were talking about keeping the skins to see about making coats and gloves out of the fur, but none of us know how to do that, so that’s out. Besides, we’ve got cold weather gear in the totes, and there’s enough for all of us, and then some.
Anyway. We’re still walking. We’re at a stretch of road that has no shelter, and it’s starting to get d
Okay, so final part of this damn entry/letter/whatever for the night. Sorry for the cut off, by the way. While I was writing that, Kim radioed in. She was on forward scout duty, looking for a place we could stop. She…well, I guess you could say she succeeded. Not in the way we had planned, but it worked.
Long story short, she ran into a group of people who were out looking for us. One of their lookouts had spotted us earlier, and they were coming out to make sure we weren’t raiders. The guy who was leading the group talks weird, but it’s familiar, too?
we’re in…it’s not a city, exactly. There aren’t any real walls here, not like
home or any of the other places we’ve found. It’s more like a giant wooden
fence. I dunno, it’s weird. This whole thing is weird. They don’t have any
electricity set up here, but they don’t seem to need it. They have horses and
cows, and I don’t know what else. I didn’t look around too much
, it feels
very…I’m not sure of the word. But this whole mess doesn’t seem to have had
much of an impact on them, it seems like.
Honestly, I just feel so off
I dunno. I hate saying that, but I really don’t know. I’m glad we’re leaving tomorrow. Joe (weird talking guy) has been talking to Doug and Kristine since dinner. I’m hoping it’s about the horses. None of us liked the idea of just letting the horses run free. It’s too late in the season, and I know animal instincts are supposed to be great at helping them survive, and horses are fucking smart, but…I worry. So, yeah.
Whatever. It’s time to get some rest.