Plan Fame Monster nearly got me killed, but it did the fucking job.
Never let it be said that I was not a little lucky from time to time. I guess I was due for a big fat dose of decent luck after… all this.
I noticed fairly early on during the past few days that the undead were only surrounding three of the sides of Hall E. The back of the building facing the river was never occupied. Now the shitty part of this is that the ground there is rocky, a little treacherous, and in order to get around either side of the Hall, you’d be in a pinch trying to get past the undead. The river is on one side, and the undead on the other. No escape route.
There are two answers to that problem, but they both require a bit of preparation. The preparation is a planned distraction. Enter Lady Gaga. For whatever reason (I know it’s not good taste), there are a dozen of her CD’s scattered around campus, and we had two here, so that was fine. We also have a few small stereos spare that we can use.
Once we had that ready to go, we simply needed to choose which of the two options I saw we had. First solution is the simplest, but probably the least safe. Run like a motherfucker past them. I mean screaming sissy boy in the prison shower sprint. Book it past the undead, out into the open, and viola, the runner is theoretically free.
Second option is more difficult, but much safer. Swim in the river out to Lake Auburn. Due to all the rain we’ve had lately the river is pretty high, and the current is reasonably swift. If we slipped out with no notice to the undead, it was reasonable to expect that you’d get all the way past the bridge in the river and then be free to move about campus. I’m a good swimmer, so I elected to bag up my Glock, my knife, a few essential supplies, and hit the river.
So… why bother? What can one person do all alone to save all those folks inside Hall E? Well, with a small stereo and a Lady Gaga CD... you can achieve miracles.
We keep rope everywhere on campus. Every building has at least fifty feet of it for us to use in an emergency. You’d be surprised how useful rope is. You can tie people up with it, climb up things, climb down things, tie things together, tie things apart... Shit it’s almost as awesome as duct tape. Almost as awesome. Nothing can really match duct tape.
We formulated the basic plan after an early breakfast, and tied the rope into a single length, with a doubled loop at the end that I slipped under my arms, ala the zombie downtown that’s still stuck in that fucking swing. On the opposite side of Hall E we had them BLAST the Lady Gaga, and everyone went to ground to get out of sight. After perhaps ten minutes (two to three songs, give or take), they started to slide further from the back end of the Hall, and we made our move. Mike, Hector, and Ollie lowered me down to ground level as fast as they could without free falling me onto the rocks. I still managed to clip a knee on a rock, which continues to hurt now.
I slipped out of the loop in the rope quietly, and moved across the rocks to the water, wading in as slowly as I could. Mr. Journal… holy shit that water was cold. My balls pulled all the way up to hang out with my tonsils, and my nipples turned into fucking daggers. The turkey was DONE. I think I turned blue. Pretty much looked like a zombie myself. One with no balls, mind you.
The current was really powerful, way faster than I anticipated, and I wound up getting swept down the damn river like a piece of rocket launched driftwood. I smacked into the stones on the river’s bottom enough to technically pass as tenderized beef. Once I got closer to the Lake the water was deeper, and I stopped getting beaten to death. After I passed under the bridge and was out in the Lake proper, I was able to fight the current, and swim to shore behind the admissions building before I froze solid.
On my back I had a backpack. Inside the backpack was a small collection of tightly sealed plastic bags filled with shit. I got my Glock out, got my shit together, and slowly crept across campus in a wide loop keeping as much shit between me and the undead as possible. Amazingly enough, I reached my destination quickly and safely: the kitchen entrance to the cafeteria. Same place I nearly was bitten back in what was it, October?
Anyway, I slipped inside the building, and gave it a quick combat clear to make damn well sure nothing had gotten inside. All was well. Here was the plan.
The cafeteria has several entrances to it. We planned on getting inside the cafeteria, setting up one exit so it would shut behind me when I left, and then use the small stereo I brought with me as a noise lure. Once set up, I slip out the door, ensure it stays shut, and the entire horde makes its shambling, dead way into the building to be contained.
Sheer genius. Jeenyus I say.
It kind of worked. It worked enough that we worked a working solution out of it. Work. That one was for extra added emphasis. I’m exhilarated when a plan works out. Thrilled even.
I moved all the cafeteria tables to the side after radioing the Hall that I was in the building and safe. Once the big area was clear, I realized that blocking the door was out of the question. It was an emergency exit door, and opened with a plunger bar. I had no way of locking the plunger. I’d have to block the door from the outside somehow.
Nonetheless, I proceeded forward with the plan. I set the radio up high and out of reach on top of the huge fridge in the kitchen, which was towards that same back door I planned on leaving out of. I cleared my escape route through the building, made sure there was nothing to trip on, and then hit the music, and became human bait.
You want to talk about horrifying? Mr. Journal, man I tell ya. I opened the double doors of the cafeteria, strode a few feet out onto the sidewalk, and screamed out to the thousand undead there. In my typical clever fashion, I hollered, “HEEEEEERE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE!”
Picture in your mind how a thousand undead a few yards away suddenly respond to that stimulus. A thousand bloodied, deceased faces all pivot like they were yanked by a puppeteer’s string. All those pale white eyes fixed right on me, like I was a naked five year old at a NAMBLA convention. Damn near shit myself.
Remind me to tell you the story of the worst time I shit myself sometime. It’s a hoot.
The horde spun on its heels, and started at me. I held solid right on that spot for as long as I could. They were maybe fifteen away from me and I started to slowly walk away, reeling them into the double doors as convincingly as I could. It was so unnatural to not draw that fucking handgun and start shooting. I see a walking dead person, I shoot them. It’s all reflex now.
Instead of shooting though, I simply walked backwards until perhaps a hundred or so were inside the café with me, and then I radioed to the Hall that I was fucking out. I turned tail and ran like a bitch into the kitchen, past the Lady Gaga noisemaker, and out the back exit. I knew there was a picnic table there, so I dragged it over as quickly and as quietly as I could, and jammed the bastard under the door handle as best I could. Luckily one of the legs of the table sunk into the grass, making for a pretty solid brake.
You already know it didn’t hold. I mean, you could FEEL that coming right Mr. Journal? I’m not that fucking lucky. I sat down on the table for extra weight, and radioed to the Hall I was out. They waited for a few minutes, and once the front of Hall E was clear and the cafeteria was filling up, they exited.
Of course you can’t fit ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag Mr. Journal. Math doesn’t add up. There’s no room. And what happens when you push ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag? Shit spills out of the top. Or, in this case, it reaches the exit I was sitting at, and the door starts to come open. I jumped the fuck up when I felt the table move, and threw a shoulder into it to keep it closed. I’m big and strong, but there had to be ten of the pricks on the other side of that door in the kitchen. Even if they weren’t TRYING to get out, just the pressure of filthy undead bodies inside was enough to shove the door.
I screamed into the radio for help. If that door came open, we were going to be bent. I was going to be bent. Sans reach around, bite the pillow, I’m going in dry style. I got no response from the radio. After me hollering for help again, I heard a motor start from somewhere around the corner, and lo and fucking behold, I see Blake whip the Tundra around the side of the cafeteria like a psycho hillbilly, and wave me off the table.
I jumped the hell out of his way, and he plowed the table into bits, and kissed the front bumper right on that fucking door like a boss. They might be able to push me off the door, but they weren’t pushing the Tundra for shit. Kiss my ass zombies. I high fived Blake just as heavy gunfire erupted around the corner.
Hector, Amanda, Angela, Abby, Patty, Gilbert, shit everyone was opening fire on the cafeteria double door. The undead had walked in, packed the place, and were now trying to leave because we were outside behind them. The tail of the undead train couldn’t hear the radio buried further ahead in the kitchen, so they were easily distracted by us. Everyone was starting to kill them off.
It was a fucking shooting gallery. Narrowed down to only three or four wide, and with a growing pile of corpses serving as a huge road block to slow them down even further, we had more than enough time to shoot them, reload, and continue to shoot them. Eventually we had to stop because the bodies were stacked too high for us to keep firing. We’d been so successful we’d lost our avenue of attack.
At that point we took a breather. The back door of the cafeteria was plugged shut by the Tundra, and the door more or less facing Hall E was stuffed with the bodies of the undead. As long as we kept a single person on watch at that entrance, they couldn’t climb fast enough over the bodies to escape. At that point, we needed to figure out a way to get to the other dead inside.
Enter the plow. After considerable debate during our steady gunfire, we decide to simply use the plow to drive across the front of the cafeteria and swipe away the huge stack of bodies. Just inside the door there were enough bodies to create a stumbling block to buy us time after clearing the path, so we felt optimistic. Worst case, we would reverse the plow, and back it up in front of the doorway, making an impromptu door.
Shockingly enough, it worked. We didn’t even have to move the plow backwards. One giant swipe and we were back in the shooting zombies business. Blake made sure to push the enormous dead weight as far away as possible so we had room to move, and also so that an errant ricochet wouldn’t blow a tire out. We’re too short on spare parts and tires to be foolish about it.
Cathartic is the word. I actually went and got a dictionary to look up the definition to make sure I got it right. The definition I’m choosing to use is the one where it means “to purge.” Shooting all those fucking zombies was exactly what we needed. It was a bonding event. It was healing. It was positive progress. It felt good to make ourselves tangibly safer, especially after the Pastor’s assault on us. I think we were all feeling violated in many ways. It was a good way for us to start to put the events of the past few days behind us.
It went on for hours. We had to hit the pile of dead bodies bottlenecked at the door with the plow four or five times before it was even remotely feasible to attempt to kill any zombies with a melee weapon. Even then it was silly dangerous. Abby was borderline reckless, and Patty and Mike had to go in and grab to her to make sure that she didn’t get herself fucking killed. Making bad, dangerous decisions won’t bring Gavin back.
And that was that. All dead. Permanently dead. As our bloody finishing work wrapped up there were onesies and twosies that we had to deal with, but once that massive onslaught was dealt with, it was like the calm after the storm. The smell… Oh sweet mother of god the smell.
And the corpses, so many fucking bodies piled so fucking high. After dealing with killing the fucking things yesterday, we spent all day today cleaning up the fucking mess left behind. More wretched work. I feel like half janitor, half mortician, and all nasty. We went through gallons and gallons of bleach. Several boxes of rubber gloves were consumed, and we had to throw away three of our mops.
Horrible work often brings people together. It’s why they make recruits do shitty work together. They sit and stew, angry and bitching, pissed and tired until they bond together. The adage you don’t die for your country, but you’ll die the man next to you starts with that. Those shit jobs that you do to come together as a team.
The funeral pyre burns bright tonight. There are hundreds of fresh bodies back there. Hundreds and hundreds. Back breakingly large piles of mangled and broken bodies. We’re all so fucking tired. I took a handful of ibuprofen an hour ago, and the dull ache coming from my back and shoulders has finally abated enough that I think I can sleep soon. People are heavy. Especially dead people. Heard of the phrase dead weight before? It’s fucking apt.
Why did this fucking happen? Where the hell did all those undead fucking come from? How’d they get all the way up Auburn Lake Road so fucking fast? Why weren’t they carrying books, or shovels, or crocheting needles? More fucking questions. My head spins when I try and put two and two together.
The Pastor had weird dreams that told him I was an agent of evil, and I needed to be killed. He believed so strongly in these dreams he sent his entire fighting force up here to assassinate me, and if he killed everyone else in the process, so be it. That’s faith. That’s a strong belief. That’s as crazy as me thinking that my dreams of The White Room, and the dead folks in there are real.
But they are real. I’ve seen the dreams and the information in them come true. I know it now. I can say irrefutably that my dreams are truth.
Were the Pastor’s dreams the truth as well?
Looking at the bright side, we had to have killed at least five hundred undead here the past few days. That’s got to be a giant chunk of the undead that have been stirred up in town. I know it wasn’t all, but the fact that they were all drawn up here for whatever reason means we got to thin the herd.
Other than the ass whupping I took going down the river, no one was hurt. No one died. More positives. Everyone seemed to operate with calm, and skill, and no one panicked. We used a lot of ammunition, but we still haven’t even fired up the reloading gear yet. Plenty more where that came from.
I don’t know where I found the energy or patience to type this out. I’m a typing animal.
Where do we go from here? What’s our next step?
Everyone agreed on a single path of action. Get the remaining women back from The Farm. They’ve been alone too long, and for all we know, they’re already dead.
Get the cows, guns, ammo, supplies, and everything back here from there as well. That place is tainted, and I will have nothing to do with that land, or that building. In fact, I am seriously considering burning it to the ground.
Once that’s done, we lock campus down. Tight as possible. We’ll accumulate fencing, barriers, machine guns, whatever we can find. I’m now fixated on us taking down trees and building a wall wooden castle style. Dig some ditches, and get this shit done. We’ve been damn near overrun twice now, never mind the ambush by The Pastor.
Time to get it done.