Don’t Feed The Trolls – Chapter 5
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 28, 2018
I miss the days when it was just my lil team of people, making our way down the coast. It was so much easier. Faster, too.
We’ve gone maybe 5 miles and the sun is already getting low enough that the scouts had to find us a good place to stop. Part of the issue is the heat. It’s ridiculously hot. The other issue is just that there’s so many of us, and Zeke’s group aren’t used to walking so far in a day without regular stops for water and rest. I guess that’s a downside to them having so many people in town. They all got spoiled with how often they got to stop and let someone else take over for a little while.
Anyway, we’re in this small subdivision type area…thing. Not sure what town this used to be, but there’s a bunch of little stores all around us, so we have people scavenging. 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 people will need food at the new place to help hold them over while they’re growing new stuff, and we could use some, too.
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 new “town.” Jonah, the head guy here, already has a couple teams put together to get things going. One is out with the boys, rearranging the cars to get the town fenced in, so we have some kinda protection tonight. The other is staking out an area to use for farming. I think they’re making a team now for clearing out houses, so we all have places to stay…which is good, cause I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be here for at least a couple days. However long it takes to get the walls built up. I mean, it shouldn’t take long? They’re just using cars to block the spaces in between the buildings, so it should go relatively quick, but we know how that goes.
Also, I’m a little concerned about the trolls being able to climb the cars and/or the buildings. Vik says the twitching and general loss of motor control should keep them from being able to do anything like that, but 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 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.
Annnd, another time jump. I’m sitting on one of the buildings now. The sun is almost gone, and it’s cooler up here. Sam is keeping me 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?
Last person in. Light is gone. 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’m writing this while I wait for my team to finish eating. Then it’s off to work.
I’ve been put in charge of the civilians, which is fine. I guess? I mean, I dunno. It’s fine. I’ve assigned most of them to help the boys get the rest of the walls put together. That’s the main priority. Especially since Jay told me this morning that the wall team ran into a problem last night. They’re putting the cars as close to the buildings as they can, but there’s still huge gaps where they meet. We can’t put the cars through the building, obviously, but they can’t leave it open, either. Jay thinks they found a solution…they’re gonna try welding metal sheets into the cars and bolting them into the side of the building. Not sure where they’re gonna find sheets of metal, but that’s on them.
My focus is getting the ground ready for food growing, and that comes with its own set of problems. Irrigation is the big one right now. There’s this little pond/lake thing nearby, so instead of trying to dig a well, we’re planning on digging a ditch from the pond to here. The problem is…the wall of cars they put up last night is between the pond and town. If we run the ditches underneath the cars, they might leak fluids into the water. The only other choice we really have though, is to send the ditch between some of the buildings, and create a gate there out of metal that will allow the water to flow underneath it. I mean, eventually they’ll expand the land to include the streams and/or lakes(?), but we’re kinda working on a time limit at the moment.
Breaktime. The heat is brutal today, but you should’ve seen it this morning. The town was all abuzz. I only had a small team to work with, but we managed to get the ditch mostly dug and the houses all cleared out. We even found a way around the cars issue…if it wasn’t so hot, we’d probably be done by now. As it is, all that’s left is boarding up the ground floor windows and getting the PVC pipe into place. Not bad, right?
It’s interesting, being part of the team making this happen. I never realized just how much work goes into it, you know? By the time I made it to dad’s, the basics were already in place. You guys helped make improvements, but this…this is different.
We’re all sitting in the shade, and I can hear everyone around me making plans for when it gets cooler. Most of us are gonna get back to work on the ditch. We need to get the pipe buried before the boys get to work on this part of the wall. It’d be too much of a hassle to try and dig underneath the cars once they’re bolted into place. The others though…they’re wanting to get the houses ready to live in, instead of just temporary homes. Lori’s been telling them about the windows Danni and George made, and they wanna try their hand at it. One of the other ladies put together her own group, and they’re gonna make a compost pile for all the food gone bad.
My favorite part of all this though, has to be the ladders they’re all talking about making. Milly says they’re for getting up to the roof. I didn’t see a point for getting up there, but apparently that’s a good place for water collecting bins. Also, roof top gardens. I love it.
The way they’re talking, nothing is going to waste. They’re gonna take apart toilets. The big part will be used to collect water, and the bottom parts are being turned into 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. It’s still hot as fuck. I think it’s baking my brain. 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 breathe a little easier. I’ll tell everyone else after our break.
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, the boys noticed that a lot of the cars that weren’t on the street, had sunk down quite a bit. The ones missing tires were really close to the ground, so it was a bit of a mad scramble, getting the tires off the rest of the cars. We didn’t get them all done before we had to stop, but we got quite a bit, and they can always finish the job with the next rain storm. 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.
Probably not a bad idea, to be honest, but that’s for them to figure out. Right now, I’m finishing up dinner and then taking a nap. I have a midnight crew I have to be up with. We almost have the pipe buried, and then we have to finish digging the ditch to line up with the opening. The boys aren’t happy with us having to work so far away from them, but it’s not like we’ll be digging all the way to the pond. We’re just digging it far enough to give us a good head start tomorrow. With us having to take it easy during the day, we don’t have much other choice.
Plus, once this is done, they can concentrate on getting more of the cars into place. Then, they won’t need as many people working on the wall, and they can go over to the pond and start digging their way closer to us. If we do that, we should be able to meet in the middle, while the civvies work on getting the houses finished and the yards cleared.
Dinner done. Time for some zzz’s. How’s your night going?
September 5, 2018
Not much to report. It’s been a busy couple of days, but it’s just been wall building, ditch digging, and field…plowing? We did get a lot done though. Managed to get the main town walled in, and we’re working on expanding the wall to cover the ponds (plural!!) nearby, too. The boys have 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 a bunch of holes, and lining things up just right…It’s taking for. ev. er. The boys assure me that the cars will hold together better this way, but I just wanna get back on the road already.
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. They don’t think they’ll have enough food ready for this year, which really sucks for us, considering that was the whole fucking point of this, but whatever. 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.
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. Hopefully he doesn’t end up being Alex 2.0.
September 8, 2018
Talk about a shit week. It’s been raining or storming every day for the past three days. The solar batteries aren’t getting enough sun to charge, so the welding guns are refusing to work
I mean, in the grand scheme of things, 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’ve been trying to console myself with the fact that, worse comes to worst, they’re all tied into place, and that’s better than nothing. None of us here are really satisfied with it, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so 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, which brings me to the latest developments.
Since we’ve brought her in…Poppy’s been almost human-ish? Like, okay, we’ve been trying to keep her away from the townspeople, cause yeah, she looks human, and is acting human-ish, 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). Tiny’s been teaching her sign language, and she’s been picking it up fairly well. None of the rest of us know 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.”
Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really 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.
September 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. We’re 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. I’m mainly just writing to tell you that we still don’t know what’s up with Poppy. Tiny said that when he went to see what was bothering her, she kept making the signs for “bad” and “cloud.” He thought maybe she was sensing electricity from a lightning storm nearby, but he checked with Sam, and there’s nothing on the horizon. Sam said that doesn’t mean there’s not one possibly brewing, though, and if it’s close enough, that might explain her “agitation.”
I’m off. Have to get a trash team together, yay!
September 9, 2018
Trash pile acquired. Holes have been stuffed. Still no explanation for Poppy’s attitude problem, and it’s only getting worse. She’s growling at everyone now, even Lori. She’s not snapping at anyone though. Just growling and pacing. Tiny has spent the entire day/night with her, trying to teach her new words to see if it helps her explain what’s going on, but nothing so far. Just “bad” and “cloud.”
Sam said there was a little pop up storm not far from us, but he doesn’t think that’s what this is.
Honestly, neither do I. The last time we saw a bunch of trolls do this, it was with that group of twitchers. BG & Jean agree. We can’t stop working, but we’ve warned everyone to stay close to shelter, and we’ve doubled the guards, especially by the gate and where the cars haven’t been “stapled together” yet.
Looks like we’re going to be staying another couple days.
September 9, 2018
Might’ve spoke too soon. I just woke up, and it’s storming its ass off. Checked in with Lori, and she says that as long as Poppy is inside, she’s kinda fine? She’ll sit there and look miserable, but she’ll let them brush her hair and clean her up. It’s hailing, so she won’t go outside, but the windows are open to let air in, and Lori says she growls whenever the wind gets strong, so I’m not relaxing just yet.
We don’t know how the trolls knew the twitchers were coming, but we’ve already established that their sense of smell is pretty damn good. If it’s even remotely possible that she’s smelling twitchers, and is trying to warn us…holy shit, Will. If she’s trying to warn us…
No. Nope. I am not thinking about this right now. I’m going to go find something to do.
September 11, 2018
It wasn’t the storm. We lost two people. We’re waiting to see if we’re gonna have to put the third down. All civilians. Part of the crew from Zeke’s. Yesterday.
They were stupid.
They knew they were supposed to stay inside. They decided they didn’t want to listen. They had been part of the trash crew. Saw stuff they liked in some of the houses. Went back to get what they wanted. Got caught by twitchers. Don’t know all the details past that. The boy who made it back has really bad gouges on his arms and shoulders where a twitcher tried to get ahold of him. Way worse than what Mike got, so we’re…concerned.
We sent a team through town, and we think we got all the twitchers that were hiding. Poppy has calmed down now. She let the girls give her a bubble bath today. She didn’t quite know what to make of the bubbles though. Kept poking them and then looking lost when they popped. Tiny was there. She pointed at the bubbles and made a sign at him. He laughed. From what I can figure, she was asking him “where go?” It was cute. Very childlike.
I’m glad she wasn’t turning on us. I just wish Nevermind. We have bodies to burn.