Don’t Feed the Trolls – Chapter 16
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.
Dec. 20, 2018, Wills, So far, no retaliation. I actually wasn’t gonna write at all, but we had an interesting moment with Hermione. She found a doll. It’s one of those dolls that eats and shits. We let her go with one of the looters and she came back with it. Flat out refused to put it down. Just kept petting its hair. She rocked it and put it to bed tonight. Never really thought of it, but she looks old enough to have had at least one kid, if not more. The idea of them remembering parts of their previous life is fucking with my head, hardcore. -Shelly Dec. 21, 2018 Wills, For all the absolute shitfest today was, it wasn’t too bad. I mean, it rained. It was cold. We all lost our tempers with each other, but a couple of our scavengers came up with an idea that might work out well. We’ve been seeing a ton of what I always called wheat grass. I thought it was just grass that looks like wheat, but I guess it’s actually wild wheat? That’s the theory, anyway. We’re collecting it as we go. We don’t have enough to do anything with yet, but we’re having the scouts collect what they come across, too, since they go out to the sides further than the rest of us. We’re also spreading out a bit more to gather as much as we can. The idea is to get enough to try grinding it and using it. If it works, then it’ll help stretching things at least a little bit further. Not much, considering how many of us there are, but again. Every little bit helps. We’ve already had to stop snacking along the way. We’ve made the switch over to hot tea. Some of the others don’t even bother with the tea part, just took the hot water plain (yuck). We’re almost back to the hotels the boys rearranged on our way out. We should reach them tomorrow morning, if I’m remembering right. If it’s raining, we’ll probably stop there to rest and eat something hot. The boys want us to get somewhere that we can stay at, at least for a week. They want to do some hunting to restore our food stores. Still the problem of making the food last, but they’re working on that, too. Jay and Garcia also want us to stop so they can whip together a few more wagons. With as many people as we’re carrying along now, it might not be a bad idea, but I’m worried about how long it will take. Plus, wagon building isn’t exactly quiet? Not in my experience, anyway. Maybe your boys know how to get around that? I don’t know, any maybe today isn’t the day to even be thinking about it. I don’t know if I’m just tired or if I’ve caught a cold, but I feel all worn out. I’m gonna finish eating, then head to bed. I’ll think about it tomorrow. Shell Dec. 25, 2018 Wills, Cold. Cold. Cold. COLD. Oh, and Merry Christmas. Haven’t stopped anywhere yet. We need to. It’s been too cold to be walking for very long, so our traveling time has gone to absolute shit. If we can’t make wagons, maybe we can at least make something the walkers can carry to shield them from the worst of the wind. They were using the shower curtains, but they were blowing all over the place, and were more hassle than help. Gray got together with your geeky boys and thought of making a rolling platform, rather than a wagon. She wants to eventually make the platform INTO a wagon, but if they get the platform part built first, then they can work on the rest of it as we’re moving along. She said it would be easier to QUIETLY drill the holes needed for support beams if we could do it without losing time on the road. A person could just sit there and use a hand drill or knife to carve out the hole. She also pointed out that – if we do it right – the platform won’t be as heavy as an actual wagon, and if we needed to blockade something, we could just tip it on the side and there we go. For making food last, she suggested finding coolers and using the solar panels to power up freezers. We could make a bunch of ice every night and toss it in the coolers to keep the food cold until it’s time to cook it or eat it. We’d still have to go through it relatively quick, it won’t last long, but with this many people, that shouldn’t be an issue. Still have to find a place to stop, but I already told the scouts to be on the lookout. I think it’ll be best if we can find an area surrounded by trees. Sound doesn’t travel as well in wooded areas as it does with rocks all around us. One of the men in the Nashville group suggested finding a place with a basement, but I’m not sure how common those are around here. This isn’t exactly my neck of the woods, and I didn’t pay that much attention to the houses and such we stayed in on the way out. If we can get in a good enough area that we can defend, then it won’t be an issue anyway. It’s just, again, finding a good spot. It’ll be okay though. I have faith in the boys. They didn’t get this far by being stupid. -Shel Dec. 28, 2018 Wills, We found a place. It’s not the best, but we’re making it work. It’s an old campground. I’m not sure if it was already mostly empty when shit started, or if everything has just been blown away, but it’s set on a little lake and there’s lots of woods around us, so there’s that. The main drawback to this place is that there’s only one main building. There’s a few RVs out there, but that doesn’t exactly help much. Again, though. We’re making it work. We’ve fortified this area the best we can, and we set up the perimeter to include some of the houses outside the camping area. With everyone spread out like this, the main building isn’t TOO overcrowded, and everyone can work on what they need to work on. I’m a little worried about the open space between everyone, but I think that’s what the boys are planning on fixing first. We just got here not too long ago, so the boys are still checking things out. Trying to sort through what will be useful and what won’t. We sent some of the trolls with them, and we kept a few back with us. There’s not much we can do here until the boys clear everything, but Vicki and Gomez have worked out a few of the work crews already. I think they’re just hammering out the schedule, now. Personally, I think they should just wait til the boys get back, cause they might have to change it all up again, but whatever. It’s their own time they’re wasting, and it’s not like there’s anything better to do. As usual, just as I got into the groove of writing, something had to come alone and interrupt me. Nothing bad, thankfully, just the boys, but I completely lost my train of thought. Vik and Gomez were lucky. They only had to change a couple parts of the schedule they wrote up. Everyone’s already out there working now. We’ve got a small group staying in camp to cook the two deer the boys brought back. They said there’s plenty in the area, but they’re worried that once we start working, the noise will scare them away. I pointed out that if we’re making enough noise to scare away the deer, we’re making too damn much noise anyway. We’ve decided to make multiple platforms, rather than just one or two long ones. They’ll be easier to pick up and carry across any rough patches of land. We just have to find a way to connect them together. I’d like to make them kinda serpentine so we don’t have to worry about them tipping over if we hit a curve, personally. Especially with the mountains and such coming up. The boys want us to wait til we’re on the otherside of the mountains, but that defeats the purpose, if you ask me. The whole point is for us to move faster. How are we gonna do that if we’re all stuck walking slow? We’ll have to figure that out. In any case, I probably won’t write while we’re stopped. I’ve been assigned to babysitting duty for the trolls that stay in camp. Hermione is still super protective of her doll. She refuses to leave without it. Won’t even let Luna touch it. She actually growled at Ron when he got too close to where she had it “resting.” She’s not AS growly with Lupin, but she won’t let him touch it, either. Still kinda freaked about that, by the way. I’m hoping to have some answers by the time we reach you, but I’m not holding my breath. I can’t think of anything else to fill you in on, so. I’ll get back to you sometime, I guess. -Shel Jan. 3, 2019 Wills, Well, that was some bullshit and a half. Two days, Will. We were here TWO DAYS and it started raining. And it wasn’t like, a steady rain, either. It was, oh, we’re just gonna mist for now. Then, the gates of water hell opened up and it was fucking COLD. Then it would go back to misting. The boys gave up on trying to do ANYTHING in this mess. We’re just waiting for a break in the rain and we’re gonna book it. We’ve already moved away from the campground, we’re spread out among the houses now. I’m actually thinking of us trying to inch our way in between downpours, but I’m not sure what to do about the horses. I mean, I suppose we could have Doug and Christine follow up last with them, and they would stay in the houses we already left, but I’m not sure that’s fair to them. Gonna have to do something though. The boys are still hunting and bringing back deer. We’re having a hard time keeping a fire going long enough to cook it, with everything being wet and all, but at least we aren’t starving. We DID manage to find a LOT of wheatgrass. Or, rather, the boys did. We’ve started the process of drying the new harvest. We’re running the oven and keeping the bundles nearby. It won’t be enough for all of us, but at least we’ll know if it works – period. Here’s hoping the rain stops tomorrow. We’d like to get at least halfway to the mountains this week. -Shel Jan. 5, 2019 Wills, It stopped raining last night, so we got back on the road today. We didn’t make it very far, but we think we might’ve found a solution to our problem. We’re at a RV…place. Not a camp, a warehouse? There’s a bunch of RVs and ATVs and stuff. The boys are tearing apart one of the RVs. Taking EVERYTHING out of it. They’re hoping to get enough weight out of it that we can hook it up to the horses and pile people in. We have enough horses, we should be able to manage, and even if we don’t make it the 50 miles a day like the old people used to do, we’ll still be able to make it at least 10, and that’s more than what we’re doing now. Nevermind, they’ve changed their mind. We’re back on the move. -Shel Jan. 6, 2019 Wills, Why does the universe hate me so much? No, it’s not fucking raining again. We’re just split up. I don’t like it. Luna and the trolls don’t like it, either. We reached the mountain pass yesterday, but it was too late for all of us to make it through before nightfall. Dick and BG had already scouted ahead and cleared a couple houses for us to stay in…we just needed to get people TO them. The bridge we had trouble with last time was still down (when I get back, I wanna talk to the manager about that), so we had to improvise. We ended up getting the wagons and horses across the gap and loading them up with as many people as we could fit. Doug and Christine were only able to get the horses to make two trips before it got too dark. I was in the first load with Luna and a couple trolls. Doug said the boys are gonna have the others start walking this way at dawn, but he and Christine plan on meeting them at the bridge to try and hurry things along. I told him good luck with that. I don’t know if they recognize this area from the mad dash we had to take last time or what, but the horses were antsy the entire time we were on that road. They were fine once we cleared the tree line and the land was kinda flat again, but they did NOT like being on that road. The trolls were just as bad. I thought maybe they were reacting to twitchers in the area, but Ron said no. Hermione looked like she was trying to think of how to explain what was wrong, but couldn’t find the right words. She stomped off to aggressively rock her “baby” to sleep. We need to find more books for the trolls to read. We need to keep building their vocab if we’re gonna have any hope of understanding them better. I guess that’s one more thing to add to my “to do” list. -Shel
Jan. 8, 2019
The minute we walk back into town, you’re going to have questions. This is where you will find the answers I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to tell you in person. Frankly, I’m debating giving you these letters at all, after this. You don’t deserve them. If you hadn’t decided to do whatever the hell you wanted to do, instead of, oh, I don’t know, LISTENING, this would’ve never happened. But you did. And it did. And I want you to know exactly what you’ve caused, cause I’ve got news for you. You’re never getting Dick back. Or Robin. If I can’t have them, neither the fuck can you.