Don’t Feed The Trolls – Chapter 1
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.
I know this isn’t what you wanted, and I’m sorry. You were right, I didn’t listen, but you have to remember: I’m an old dog. We don’t do new tricks very well. What this old dog does do well though, is recognize raw talent. I know you don’t see yourself as a leader, but I have complete faith in you.
I just have one (more) thing to ask of you: Take this journal with you. You have a unique way of looking at the world, and a long road ahead of you. I remember your last journal (yes, I read it. I’m sure you know that already), and it’s selfish, but I’m hoping you won’t mind sharing this one as well. Think of it as a favor for an old man?
May 21st, 2018
Dear General Williams,
May 22nd, 2018
Dear General Williams,
Okay, you know what? I thought about it, and honestly? Fuck you doesn’t even come close to cutting it. Do you have any idea how much crap I wouldn’t have to deal with if you people would just listen to me?
Evidence #1: I told Dick, “don’t feed the trolls.” He did it anyway, and now we have a small encampment of the fuckers about a mile away? Maybe two…they’re close to see from our new watchtower, and that’s too damn close, okay?
Evidence #2: I told Robin, “Hey, make sure Williams knows that the city people aren’t used to having to deal with fireplaces. There are too many houses close together at the fort, and there’s not enough trained firefighters.” Then a fire broke out and you idiots lost almost half the town! Yes, okay, fine, Robin did pass the message on, and yes, you started a training ground for the firefighters to start expanding their forces, but still! If you guys had maybe taught the citizens themselves to clean their flue and all that good stuff, like we told you to, you might not’ve lost so many people. As it was, you were damned lucky dad was there. If he hadn’t helped coordinate the rescue efforts, and kept the fire from spreading further, you guys would’ve been screwed blued and tattooed. As it is, he’s still recovering from the smoke inhalation. Because of you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying dad and I have things in control here – we’ve had our share of mishaps in the town, too – but, ours was caused by a newbie, and it was quickly contained. Plus, dad had started all of our people on learning how to form a fire brigade before I even got here. Even after Gray and the others got us a better supply of water, we still had weekly drills, just as we had drills on different kinds of attacks (side note: good work on getting rid of that bandit camp – see, I can be fair!).
I’m just…I thought I was done with this shit, okay? I really did. I thought, I’m home. I’m safe…ish. I have a man, I have a kid, I have my family. I’m done. No more galivanting across the countryside, dragging wagons and kids and just…no. I was done. History should be written by people who actually know how to do it. Then you had to go and get this wild goose chase idea in your head, and guess who’s getting caught in the middle of it, huh?
I get your reasoning for wanting the satellites to stay afloat. It’s been great, being able to reach out to the other bases, getting information, helping each other out…but…as I pointed out, if there are still people at NORAD, why aren’t they answering anyone’s calls?
You’ve called them. You had the other bases call. Everyone has been trying to call, and nothing’s getting through. The only piece of evidence you can offer for why they might still be alive and kicking is the fact that the satellites are still working, and honestly, let’s just think about this logically: it’s not enough. For all you know, they had updates to their software to allow the sats to stay in orbit without human intervention. You told us, yourself, that you had never been stationed there, so why is it so hard for you to accept the idea that maybe you don’t know everything there is to know about that damn place? It sure as hell makes more sense than the idea that there’s people still working/living there who just don’t like answering the phone whenever anyone tries to call them.
And you know, the worst part…the absolute worst part of this, is that you and I actually sat down and talked about this. We had a civil discussion! The only time I told you to go fuck yourself was when you said that you wanted me to go with them because you said – and I quote, I had “training” – as if getting from New York to North Carolina was training. It was 85% sheer luck, 10% determination, and the remaining 5%…I don’t know. Preparation? Perspiration? You decide, the point is, there was no reason, whatsoever, for me to be making a cross country trip, when you have a battalion, or whatever they’re called, of soldiers you can deploy.
Everything else though, I sided with you on. Everyone in that meeting thought the idea was bullshit – including me – but I was still willing to have a team go check on the people out there, cause, as I said, it’s possible that their incoming sat is damaged or something, so they’re not getting the calls, or maybe even their sat phone, itself, is broken. At the very least, it’s worth checking out. All I asked – the literal only thing I asked of you – was to wait til late spring/early summer. Better hunting so no one would have to worry about food, no sudden winter storms, less chance of flash floods, and longer daylight hours, which means more distance traveled with less chance of ambushes. You sat there, agreed that it made more sense, told me to my face that I made a valid argument and that you “appreciated” my input.
So explain to me why my boys are stuck on the other side of the fucking Mississippi?
Oh wait, I know why. You didn’t. fucking. listen. You put yourself a team together, including three of my best friends, and sent them on a wild goose chase down to Florida first, for some ungodly reason, and then off to Colorado. Three months ago. And then, oh, and then, you have the absolute gall to come to my home and tell me that this team, is stuck. You don’t even know exactly where they are, just that they’re somewhere south of what’s left of St. Louis with no bridges available and supplies almost gone.
I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN.
I should’ve known better than to trust you to listen, but I thought you learned your lesson after your little adventure getting a team to Atlanta. I told you not to go then, too, and what’d you do? Damn near patted me on the head and told me not to worry, then turned around and did it any fucking way. How’d that work out for you? Two people lost, no solid news to report from it, and instead of learning from your brilliant mistake, you decide to go for it again.
Do you have any idea how lucky you are that I didn’t tell you to go pound sand when you first showed up? Guess it doesn’t really matter though, does it, since you’re getting your wish and all. Tomorrow, Scott and I are leaving Bridget with mom and heading over to the fort, right behind you. We’ll see whether or not you actually stand by your word to let me call the shots. Don’t worry, I still plan on accepting counsel from whatever team of specialists you put together, but I will be the one calling the shots in the end. You so much as look at me wrong, and I’ll walk out and do this on my own.
Still pissed off,
May 25th, 2018
Alright, so your little team isn’t bad. I wish you didn’t have such good reasons for sending along
Sargent Short Dick Jean, but at least we’re getting BG, too. Kim shows promise. I do appreciate not being the only smartass on the team. We’ll see how that goes, of course, but for now, I’ll give you a “not bad.”
I’ve got my team together, too. We’re hoping to leave on Friday, but it all depends on if everyone is ready in time and if the weather cooperates. It’s already hotter than it has any business being, and it’s only going to get worse as summer goes on. At least we know the virus or whatever isn’t carried by mosquitos, and it doesn’t appear to affect animals, so we don’t have to worry as much about the bugs, but I’m glad you’re sending more than one medic with us. I just wish you could send one of your brain docs, too.
Also, I had an extra volunteer for the civilian team. Alex’s girl, Lori. She seems alright, but I’m not sure about her reasons for wanting to go. She just said “it’s personal.” If she wasn’t such a good shot with the bow, I’d tell her no. Especially since she wants to leave without telling Alex. It’s a shit move, and I don’t like it, but I’m not her mother. I did tell Ryan about her plans. He looked pissed off, so I told him to take it up with you. Yeah, I threw you under the bus, deal with it. I’m going off to fix your fuck up, the least you can do is make your doctors help the boys.
Completely off topic, by the way, but we need to get a postal service set up. I mean, I’m writing you these letters, knowing you’re not going to get them until I get back from this fool’s errand, and I’m okay with that, because I plan on filling this journal with letters telling you just how annoyed I am. But Aubrey has mentioned wanting a penpal in the city, and without email and internet, snail mail is our only option.
Besides, you’re the one constantly going on about how “letters from the past are snapshots in time.” Isn’t that why you wanted copies of my last journal made? You all but had yourself a temper tantrum when I refused to give you the original journal, but I know better, and if we do rebuild our civilization, I will not have my words tampered with, you hear me? “History is written by the winners,” my ass. It’s written by the survivors.
May 27th, 2018
I got your weather report today. So glad you were able to let us know that it was raining. I would’ve never known that if I hadn’t stepped outside.
Since we’re out here stating the obvious though, we’re not going anywhere for at least another week, while we wait for all this shit to dry up, which means another seven days of arguing with Scott about whether or not he can come with me. It doesn’t help that he knows I want him to go. He just can’t. If anything happens to dad, he needs to be here to step in and help out. Plus, we can’t just dump Bridget off with mom. She needs stability, dammit.
By the way, I’m taking it that the rain is why your supply wagon hasn’t arrived yet. Frank showed up today and said they were right behind him, so I’m guessing they’ll get here tomorrow. He also said that the team will be coming with it, so I had dad set aside room for them in the barracks. I’m trying to get as much ready as possible so when the rain ends, we can get the hell outta here. The sooner we get gone, the sooner we get back.
Speaking of wagons, though…are you sure it’s a good idea to only have ONE? I mean, there’s going to be what? Almost thirty of us? I plan on leaving at least half behind at the Mississippi, so we have a back up team already in place, but that’s still a lot of people, and I just don’t see supplies for thirty people fitting in ONE wagon, unless it’s like MASSIVE, which would then bring up another issue of how the hell would we pull it? We’re already planning on taking four horses, Danni and George helped pick out the ones they thought would be best suited for the trip, but we don’t want to wear them out too fast. If the wagon is huge, we’re going to need to rethink how many horses we’ll need, which means we’ll need to rethink the amount of feed we take with us, and just…we need to know.
I tried asking Frank about it, but he just gave vague ass answers. I guess I’ll just have to wait til tomorrow. Oh joy.
May 28th, 2018
Still trying to make up my mind whether or not I’m annoyed with you. Why didn’t you say you were sending THREE wagons? I mean, at least they’re lightweight, but now we have to reorganize everything, dammit. Good thing it’s still raining its ass off (ha, now there’s something I never thought I’d say…).
Off to talk to Danni about a couple more horses.
PS: Love the supply kits you sent for all of us.
June 1st, 2018
You do realize that kissing my ass isn’t getting you anywhere, right? I mean, I appreciate you sending the new guy and the radar stuff, he’s already cleared us for leaving on Monday, but seriously. All you’re doing is making me wonder what the hell you’re up to. Stop it.
June 4th, 2018
I take back everything nice I said about your team. No, seriously. I’m sitting here, trying to figure out your thought process. Like, how, exactly did you pick out these guys? Did you do a poll for the Most Annoying? Or like, voted to see who was Most Likely To Whine Like a Bitch? Cause hey, A+ job there. We barely made it out of town before SD was grumbling about everything.
It’s hot. It’s muggy. The ground is wet. The horses stink. The wagons are loud. The trolls are creepy.
Really? You think?! It’s June. In North Carolina. Of course it’s hot and muggy. It rained yesterday, so yes, the ground is fucking wet. Horses are animals. What did you expect them to do?? Smell like roses?! I am two seconds from sending his ass back to you. In pieces. Seriously, this is the last damn time you get to pick anyone for my team.
June 5th, 2018
Not even a week into this fiasco, and we’ve already ran into a horde. We were lucky though. The scout spotted them with plenty of time for us to find shelter. It helps that they’re moving super slow. I mean, it’s been hours and we’re just now starting to really see them, so we had plenty of time to get the windows reinforced and shit. On the downside though, they’re moving super slow. Like, at this rate, we’re losing at least a day. I was talking to BG about making a run for it as soon as they’re past, to try and make up for the time lost, but he thinks it’s too risky, considering how many people we have with us, and I suppose that’s fair. I just don’t like the idea of an entire day lost to this bullshit.
Also, Jean is already driving me up the wall. I just listened to him bitch for a solid hour about the “importance of status reports.” Like, wtf? We’re in the middle of nowhere. There is no internet. We are reduced to horse and carriage because hey, total collapse of civilization = no cars. No trains, no planes, no fucking automobiles. And he wants me to send you a status update?! How the hell am I supposed to do that?! I don’t see any damn messenger pigeons around here, do you? No? I didn’t think so, so I repeat: what the actual fuck.
June 8th, 2018
Here I was worried about losing a single day, and it’s going on day fucking three of being cooped up in this damn house cause the horde…I dunno. Ran out of steam? They’re not doing anything, and I mean that literally. They’re out there just…standing. And they’ve got the entire house surrounded, so we can’t even just sneak around them, either.
Also? They’re being really fucking weird. I mean, check this out: it started getting too hot in the house, okay? We had only expected to be stuck here for maybe a day, so we didn’t bother hooking up the breaker box to the solar generator. Yesterday though, it started getting really bad, so we decided to risk sending Kate out to get everything set up. We thought we had everything covered. We had boys on the roof, making sure the area was clear. We checked out all the windows, no trolls to be seen…Kate gets out there, goes around a corner and lookie there. A troll.
He was along one of the walls, standing under the eaves at just the right angle to not be seen from the windows. We don’t know if he did it on purpose or just got lucky, but if he did it on purpose, I have to wonder what his reasoning was. Generally, if one of us hid like that, we’d be trying to ambush someone, right? This one…didn’t. Kate said it just looked at her…then looked away. She backed away and went hunting along the other side of the house and come across another one. This one though, was even weirder. This one, she said, must’ve heard her or smelled her or something, cause when she poked her head around this corner, he turned his he head, looked at her, and then, here’s the weird ass part that has us all “wtf’ing”: walked away. He didn’t turn and walk away, mind you, he just walked straight away from where he was standing. Went about five feet, maybe, and then just stopped and stood there again. Didn’t turn to watch her, didn’t try to attack…he just stood there.
I was in the living room, arguing with Jean about something or another, and then Ty comes thundering down the stairs and out the back door, scaring the shit outta us. I went to the window, and I see Ty with the troll in his sights and Kate waving at Ty to back off with one hand and fiddling with the generator with the other.
She got everything hooked up, and her and Ty made it back inside the house. The minute they were around the corner, I saw the troll turn back around and walk back to his little hiding spot.
Today, there’s even more. Jean climbed up on the roof this morning said they’ve formed an almost perfect circle as far as he can see, but there’s a bunch of trees in the way, so who knows how many more are hiding out there.
We were all talking about trying to make a run for it, guns blazing, but Sam went up on the roof with Jean, and did his radar whatchamacallitstuff. I don’t remember all the technical terms, and basically there’s a bunch of rain headed our way, so that took care of that.
Jean is pouting. He was hell bent on the show of force move. I told him he was more than welcome to go running off if he really wants to, but I’m not risking our wagons getting stuck in the mud, so if he does decide to go, he’s doing it on his own.
Kim woke me up. trolls being weird
Standing around -> jerky. Something’s wrong
Vik to rooftop, report: trolls in tizzy (hypnagogic jerk?)
Trolls start banging on windows + doors
Retreat to 2nd floor
Sent Ty to roof.
Trolls try doors. Doors all locked.
Did not force entry
Ty report: 2nd group trolls
Vik says 2nd group weird (kuru?)
Ty says: 1st group circle house
Vik report: 1st and 2nd group trolls fighting?
2nd group pass by
1st group stay 1+ day then go (why?)