Don’t Feed the Trolls – Chapter 18

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.


Jan. 12, 2019

Two days. It’s been TWO days since Joshua put the boys on her version of life support. I don’t know what to say. It’s been weird. She “wakes them up” to eat and use the bathroom, and then they go back into resting mode. Tiny suggested having them walk around to get some light exercise so their muscles don’t atrophy(sp?), so she’s been waking them up to do that, too, now.

It’s freaky as shit. They’re “awake,” but not AWAKE, if that makes sense. Their eyes don’t even open all the way, and the way they walk…it’s not quite the zombie shuffle from the movies, but it’s not “normal” either. It’s almost robotic. Can you say creepy AF? Ugh, I am NOT a fan.

Also, there’s another major area of concern with the boys. They’re developing an abscess (sp again, leave me alone) on their side. Tiny “has concerns” about opening it up, but if it gets much bigger, he won’t have a choice. We can’t afford to let an infection get out of control. Sarai thinks the abscess is related to Joshua, cause both boys have them in the exact same spot.

In other news, we had to have ourselves an emergency meeting. The others noticed that I stopped writing to Williams. Apparently I can’t do that. “It’s shady as fuck, Shel,” according to Mike. Jean says I should at least write “Fuck you” every day for the next couple weeks. We’re hoping the boys will be recovered enough by the time we get back home to be believable that the accident was bad, but not so recovered that it would be considered a “goddamn miracle.” How the fuck we’re supposed to straddle that line, all things considered, I don’t even know, but hey, no pressure. Just gotta pull the wool over a 4 or 5 star general of the United States army. Easy peasy.

Okay, actually, I think I can manage writing “Dear Williams, Fuck you” over and over. If all I have to do is be pissed off, I can do that. Vicki keeps trying to point out that Will didn’t start the landslide, but the point still stands that if he hadn’t sent the boys on his stupid trip, they wouldn’t’ve been there for the landslide to happen. I’ll be just as fucking angry as I wanna be, thankyouverymuch.

There is absofuckinglutely nothing else to write about. We’re just stuck here, waiting to see how this shit goes. We don’t even know how long to give it. Like, do we wait and see if they heal enough for Joshua to release them from her control? Or do we start moving, and hope that none of the more trigger happy civvies notice something’s up?  We have the one wagon we could hide the boys and Joshua in, but Tiny wants to get the abscess thing figured out first. Joshua is also still “running diagnostics” on the boys, so there’s that, too.

At least the weather is cooperating. Plenty of sun today to charge the batteries. It’s starting to get cloudy now, but we should be set for now.

-Shelly


Dear Williams,

Fuck you.

Shelly


Jan. 15, 2019

Spoke too soon. Weather went to shit, and so did everything else.

Tiny had to lance the abscess to find out what was going on there. It was the single most disgusting thing I think I’ve ever experienced.

Tiny cut Robin open first. Found a black blob. Tried to dig it out, but it had a tube attached to it. Called Joshua in to find out wtf was going on, she tells them, “it’s where the bad stuff goes.” They tell her, it needs to be drained, she says “okay.” The tube PUSHED the blob out of the cut, ON ITS OWN, the disconnected itself and – we THINK it went back into the cut. We’re not 100% sure what happened to it, cause as soon as it disconnected, the blob opened up, and started OOZING black liquid all over the table we were using. Not the troll black stuff, either. THAT stuff doesn’t really have a smell anymore. We’re not sure what happened, but I noticed the change when we patched up Poppy that first time. I forgot to ask the ladies at that one town about their trolls…I wonder if the smell has anything to do with the way the trolls act?

Off topic, sorry.

Anyway, this stuff wasn’t the same. It stunk. That was the point I was going for. Not a “who farted?” stink, either. This was more like something vomited on itself, then curled up and died in the middle of its own vomit puddle. I’m pretty sure Tiny threw up in his mouth, but since I full on puked on the floor, I’m not saying shit to him about it. Especially since he managed to keep it together enough to clean the edges of the cut and stitch it back up, then turn around and do the same with Dick.

Once we got the boys all drained and cleaned up, we moved houses. Again. The smell was just too bad.

That was this morning. Tiny and Vicki have been talking to Joshua since then, and the sun has already disappeared into the trees for the night. I think they’re trying to teach her the terms she needs to know in order to better explain what is going on with the boys. I know I heard Tiny and Vicki talking about what the “bad stuff” might be, but I didn’t understand the terms. I’m guessing one of the “this” or “that” things was blood poisoning. I’ve heard that it stinks, so maybe? But one of the things they mentioned sounded like it involved the intestines, which I would DEFINITELY think could lead to the stench. I mean, it was pretty bad, so it makes sense to me, but I don’t even fucking know.

What I DO know is that staying in one place for this long is NOT good. The only ones not jumpy right now are the trolls. They’ve been collecting books. Poppy reads to her doll. The others read to themselves. Sometimes I’ll hear them sounding a word out. A couple times, they’ve asked Luna for help. Luna’s come to me with them for some of the bigger words. They found a textbook on thermodynamics and Jean took over on that one. He’s still a bit of an ass, but at least he’s a SMART ass.

-Shelly


Dear Williams,

Fuck you.

Shelly


Jan. 19, 2019

Will’s boys made it back today. Lupin told us they felt the others getting closer last night, and today, Jean spotted them on the road. I feel a little better about being holed up in the same area now, but I still hope we can get a move on soon.

The good news is, that might actually happen. Whatever Tiny and Vicki talked to Joshua about, it seems to be working. The boys have an abscess again, but it’s stopped growing. Tiny says he’s gonna give it two more days. If the abscess stays the same, we can get packed up, and he’ll drain it right before we leave, so we’re not stuck with the smell. The boys still haven’t woke up yet. Tiny is hopeful that once the infection is completely dealt with, that’ll change. Joshua already told him their brain activity is back to normal, so that’s good. Just gotta get their bodies patched up a bit more.

-Shelly


Dear Williams,

Fuck you.

Shelly


January 27, 2019

Well. We made it to the settlement without an issue. It started raining the morning we were gonna leave, so we had to wait for that to pass, but as soon as it did, we got the boys’ abscesses drained and used the stretchers to toss them in the wagon. BG is able to hobble around, but Tiny didn’t want him climbing, and he refused a stretcher, so we compromised and made him a little ramp, instead. You could tell he hated it, but it was the lesser of two “evils,” and he was ready to get back on the road again, so he hobbled his ass up the ramp, glaring and grumbling the whole way.   

Once we got everyone settled, things went a lot quicker. Doug and Mike weren’t wrong about the settlement. They did get quite a bit done to make it safer there. Some of the Nashville people chose to stay with them, which makes things a LOT easier.

Ron’s little friend was happy to see us. That was nice. She was surprised to see Dick and Robin still with us. We all agreed to halt Joshua’s “exercising” the boys while we were in town. There wasn’t enough room for us to have a space to ourselves, so we gave Joshua a quick rundown on how bedpans work, and she…did whatever she does…to make the bodies use them, instead of walking to a chamber pot. Still kinda freaks me out, that kinda control over another persons’ body, but it’s keeping the boys alive, so I’ll take it.

We stayed there about a week to give everyone time to get their stuff together and make any final decisions about if they wanted to stay or not. We had a hefty bunch choose to come with us, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. The settlement didn’t have a ton of extra food, but they had enough to help us out. Winter was fairly mild over this way, so they had a longer growing period and more time to hunt. I WAS warned not to ask too much about the meat we were given, which kinda annoyed me, cause now I’m curious, but I also don’t want to know. If I find out it’s dog meat, I will cry, and I’ve cried enough, thankyouverymuch.

The leader of the settlement offered to send people with us to help keep watch, but we passed on the offer. They don’t have a lot of the road walled off yet, but they and the Knoxville group managed to get sentry points set up all the way to each other, so if any of them spot trouble, we’ll know. They even have houses marked safe/not safe. They’re working on demolishing any houses that have the black stains, but they’re still working out how to dispose of the leftovers. They don’t want to burn the houses down, in case the fire gets out of control, but they don’t want to leave them just sitting there, either. Reusing the wood is mostly out of the question, cause who knows if the stuff will reactivate.

Actually, now that I think about it, the trolls might be able to tell…I’ll have to check into that. In the meantime, we’re all spread out between a bunch of houses. There weren’t any big enough for all of us and we can’t be sure that the temps are gonna stay high enough to make sleeping outside an option. I don’t like it, but I have to admit…I like having everyone together again. It’s making hiding things a bit harder, but at least I know where everyone is.

-Shelly


Dear Williams,

Fuck you.

Shelly


January 28, 2019

It’s weird. The job they did on this road, I mean. Like, we’ll go a mile, no walls in place. Then we’ll come across a long ass section of road that DOES have a wall. Then it’s back to no walls again. At first, I couldn’t see any rhyme or reason to it, but then the boys pointed out that the walled in stretches are near places like lumber companies or furniture shops.  They’re building what they can with what they have on the spot and I guess they’ll work their way to them from either end as they get more supplies. I suppose it makes sense. It was kinda amusing though. We got to one stretch, and the wall was made out of trailers. Like, truck trailers, not trailer park trailers. I don’t even know how they managed that one. I mean, I can guess how they got them in place, it’s not that hard to drive a truck (I don’t think it is, anyway), but these trailers aren’t on their stilt things. They’re flat on the ground, andTHAT is where they lost me. There’s NO way they lifted them. Those things are MASSIVE and cranes aren’t exactly an option.

Jean thinks they might’ve used a rope and pulley, but I’m still not buying it. No way. That is a BIG mental note to ask them about, cause wtf.

I guess I should say that’s ANOTHER thing I have to talk to them all about. I spent way more of today with the Nashville folks than I expected to. They all wanted to talk to me about the settlements we ran into along the way. What they were like, what kinda people lived there, what defenses they had in place, etc.. A pretty good number of them want to stay in Knoxville. Another good bunch of them want to check out the town with the pinochs. They like the idea of the walls and the planting fields. They’re used to that. The idea of living in a collapsed concrete jungle just doesn’t appeal to them. A very small number of them want to continue with us all the way back to Hope. They’re not entirely sold on the idea of going on to the Fort, but they might change their mind once we get closer. I’m pretty sure they’re all gonna be changing their mind from one moment to the next anyway, so I’m just gonna take it day by day.

-Shelly


Dear Williams,

Fuck you.

Shelly


Jan. 31, 2019

Dammit, Jean was right. Mostly, anyway. Right enough for me to be annoyed. They used rope and pulley, but they also used cars that were nearby to give them the extra boost they needed.

They’re taking all the people who want to stay and they’ve got us set up with a place to stay until it’s not fucking kill you where you stand cold again. We can’t stay long. They’re not doing as well as the smaller settlement is doing, when it comes to food. The indoor growing space took longer to get up and running than they expected, and they hadn’t had much luck hunting. They did manage to catch some rabbits and they’ve got some breeding going on, but now they’re worried they’ll run out of food for the rabbits.

We suggested culling the…I’m not sure what a group of rabbits are called, but the suggestion made sense to me. Kill and eat enough of the rabbits to keep the population at a manageable number and go from there. They said that had been trying to do that, but the rabbits just grow so fast and reproduce so fast, and they’re worried that if they cut back the population too much, what happens if something happens to the rest? Fair enough, I guess, but I don’t know what else to tell them.

They’re working on a way to trap some deer, but they haven’t had much luck there yet. They got the enclosure ready, just no way of getting the deer into it.

I’ve marked their location on the map I keep with me now. Hopefully they’ll still be standing by the time we get the roads safe to travel on again.

-Shelly


Dear Williams,

Fuck you.

Shelly


February 2, 2019

We’re making pretty good time. We thought we were gonna be stuck in Knox for a while, but the cold snap only lasted that one day. We’re following the same path back home, for the most part. Rather, I guess I should say that’s the plan. We know we might have to change it up a bit when we get closer to hom


February 2, 2019

Williams,

I really REALLY fucking hate this virus thing. Luna is gonna need even MORE therapy when we get back home, and she won’t be the only one. You’d better have your best men on this shit and the meetings will be in Hope, NOT Bragg.

-Shelly

PS. Fuck you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.