From the roof of the apartment building you can see for miles in every direction. The entirety of downtown and most of the fringe neighborhoods are all visible, and if you have a scope, or a pair of binoculars, you can even see Lake Auburn. None of the school buildings are visible due to the hills and tree line, but you can certainly see all that way.
It’ll be a great view to have access to regularly.
We cleared the top three floors today.
I breached the steel fire door on the roof using one of our halligans. The pry bar hook at one end damn near ripped the door right off the frame when I leveraged it. Whoever invented that tool should be given some kind of an award. It’s outstanding stuff.
As soon as I got the door open though, there was a dead guy standing at the top of the stairs. He was covered in dried vomit and stank something awful. Opening that door was a lot like popping open a sewer lid. Luckily, Abby had the doorway covered, and once I was clear of the firing line, she snapped off a single round from her Beretta, and the fucker went tumbling down the stairwell and into the darkness.
And with that, Hector, Abby and I went into it.
We don’t have tactical lights on our M4s and M15s. We just don’t have them. To make do on this, we taped some of the small flashlights we’ve got to the foregrips of the rifles so wherever the barrels go, light is there with it. We all clicked on our lights, and headed down into the belly of the beast.
The first set of steps was perhaps twelve deep and ended at another steel door. The door was locked, and just like the upper door on the roof, I ripped that bitch open with the halligan. Hector was second on the stack, and he covered the opening while I pulled the door open. It was clear. The inner hallway of the building went left and right, and as we usually tend to do, we went right.
It was pitch fucking black in the hallway. No light came in from exterior windows, and there were no electric lights either. Miserable. The hall of the building formed a big O and we were at the bottom of that O. The elevator was right near the fire door, and as we swept down the hall, we engaged three zombies wandering towards us. Every time we walked past an apartment door, I gave it a tug to make sure it was shut. If I had to kick it in after, so be it. I didn’t want one of the dead fucks to push or pull a door open and slip in behind us. Fortunately the hall was pretty narrow and the zombies had little space to move. I snapped off three rounds when they were at about ten paces and dropped all three of them.
Just for the record, in case you were wondering, the fucking stench on that floor was rigoddamndiculous. Once the three wandering undead in the hall loop were dealt with we had to stop and tie a wet rag around our face to keep the dry heaves in check. However these people went, it created one of the most foul odors I can imagine. Bacteria, old vomit, feces, rotting flesh, oh my shit it was terrible.
We radioed down to the ground crew the fifth floor hall was empty and that we were about to start clearing apartments. We backtracked to the first apartment door we passed, and in we went.
The doors on the building automatically lock when they’re shut, and because of that, we had to kick in every single door. I suppose we could’ve taken the time to search the dead bodies for keys, but they were fucking rancid, and I didn’t feel like getting anything on me. Besides, it’s a bit of a rush to put boot to door.
Granted these were tough ass doors, and I had to kick them a few times to get them to break free of the frame, but in the end, one way or the other, I was victorious over all the doors on that floor today.
Adrian: 8. Doors: 0.
The first two doors I sent in were dry. The apartments on that floor (all eight of them) were two bedrooms, so it was reasonable to expect as many as four undead inside each door. Like I said, the first two doors were empty. We gave them a full clear, and left everything lootable behind. Today was not a day for scrounging.
The third door we kicked in was a problem. I booted that bastard five times with everything I had before it started to crack and cave in. By then my knee was starting to get sore, and just as I was about to switch to the halligan (which would’ve been a much better idea in the first fucking place) it finally busted inward, and thunked off of something solid right behind the door. I brought the M4 up as fast as I could, and the damn door shoved closed in my face again, pushed by something on the other side.
Not wanting to deal with anything, you know… dangerous, I flipped the M4 to burst, and ripped three rounds through the door at what I guessed was chest or neck height for a normal person. The high velocity rounds put holes shaped like flowers in the thick wood and I heard something backpedal into the room away from the door. I stepped strong into the living room, opening the door with my foot, and saw a fragile woman regaining her balance across the way. She was dead as hell, and my three rounds had hit her center mass. I should’ve let the barrel walk up more.
No thought required I flipped back to semi, and popped her in the face. She collapsed into a recliner which automatically sat back on her, as if it were a fucking comedy. I heard Hector laugh out loud as she slumped dead with her arms over the side of the seat. Of course he didn’t see the other two undead coming around the small island in the kitchen, and when I opened up on them with two shots, he shut he fuck up. I called Hector one of the new names he taught me, and we exited the apartment. Pendejo was the word, incidentally.
So by that point we’d killed what, one in the stairwell, three in the hallway, and then three in the third apartment. Too many three’s there for my comfort, but it turned out to be a non-factor. That was eight, and the guys down below were guessing at maybe ten undead, so we were hoping for blue skies.
GONG! Fail. Every apartment past the third had undead in it. Granted, it was only a single undead in most of them, but the bottom line was, we found six more undead in the remaining rooms, which brought our total to 14 for the fifth floor.
Most of the doors had to be pried open with the halligan because just like the third door the dead people inside were pushing their way out, scratching and biting to get to us in the hall. It sucked too because having to pry the door open against their body pressure made it more dangerous. At one point I got one door pried open just enough for one of them to get her fingers in the jam, and when the lock gave way, she yanked it just right, and I lost my balance and went right into her.
Fortunately my momentum took us both to the floor and I landed on top. It was an older woman, little overweight and wearing a frigging awful skiing jacket and pants. She must’ve lasted into the cold weather months. I smooshed her something fierce and did what amounted to a forward roll to get off of her. Abby lit her up with a few shots from her M15 as I rolled away, and I tell you what, I was about a red cunt hair shy of getting bitten on the ass. Once again, my little girl saves my bacon.
Two hours. All told to clear that floor that is. At the end of it we all threw up. I tried so damn hard to play tough and not hurl but I just couldn’t manage it. The smell, and the disgusting mess we found inside some of the apartments was just too awful. I need to dunk my head in bleach to try and scour the memories of that place out. There were several piles of dead bodies mostly destroyed in a few of the apartments. I know the zombies bite us, and kill us, but for the most part, they don’t sit around eating us afterward. Once we’re dead, they move on.
These piles of bodies were eaten. Right to the bone in many cases. You know what probably ate them right? The other survivors. Living folks, eating living folks. Well, they might’ve been eating dead folks, but the fact is it is cannibalism either way. That also might explain why they got so sick. Human bodies are loaded with all kinds of bacteria and shit.
Back to the stairwell we went to the fire door Martin had welded shut. I guess it’s fortunate he had the presence of mind to bring his basic welding kit back to the building when shit hit the fan. Remind me to ask him about how that story went down Mr. Journal. After meeting him and his wife Julie today, they seem like good people.
Anyway, we had to pry the fire door open with the halligan as he cut with a torch from the other side. It was a good hour’s worth of sweaty, hot ass work to get the door free, and to think he said this was the door that was only “lightly” welded. Wtf are the other doors like?
Unfortunately experience has taught us to greet strangers with the business end of our guns, and when I got the door free they got to see Abby and Hector aiming down their throats. I think they were taken aback by it, but oh well kids. Too many villains and not enough heroes in this world for us to go around giving everyone our trust right off the bat.
After we were sure they were up to good stuff, we put the guns away, and did some hand shaking. I already mentioned names and such. Zach and Ryan were the hydroponics and weed experts. Alex and George are the gay couple (who are super nice, incidentally, which may or may not be a total stereotype), and then Martin and Julie with their little guy Chester. Chester is the shit incidentally. Tiny guy full of piss and vinegar as Gilbert would say.
They gave us a full tour of the place and I’m pleased to say, it wasn’t a complete shit show. For a pair of stoners, Zach and Ryan sure do have their shit together. Using the juice from the solar panels on the roof they’ve got a full hydroponics bay set up in the light coming through the balcony windows. The juice runs the pumps, and they’re using their own poop to fertilize the plants. I guess they haven’t gotten sick at all yet, so they must be on to something. They’ve got tomatoes, onions, potatoes, spinach, carrots, and cauliflower.
Good stuff. All they are missing is a protein source. Fortunately, we have eggs, milk, venison, and when we have spare adult chickens, we’ll have chicken meat as well. When we shared the fact that we had all that, to a one I think they all burst into tears.
This is going to sound bad, but watching them do that made me feel great. Legit. Knowing that I was the bearer of news so good that their emotions spilled out made me feel pretty terrific. Alex just looked at me like I was the second coming and smiled and smiled.
Before we left, we had to ask the tough question. The single question. What did they want to do? Hector and Abby agreed that they all seemed like great people, and if they were willing, we’d be more than happy to have them back at campus. Granted, like everyone else there each of them would have to toe the line and put in their fair share of work, but they were welcome if they were willing.
They wanted out bad. All of them. The idea of being out on a large, open safe area away from that building was almost more joy than they could handle. When they agreed that they would all return to campus with us, I radioed down to the ground crew we were leaving with the whole package of seven. Gilbert and Patty replied in the affirmative, and after they packed some of their most critical belongings, we were off.
Climbing down the fire truck ladder is harder than climbing up it. Leering down at how far you’re about to fall is nerve-wracking. When you’re on the way up, all you see is the step in front of you, and the sky above. Looking down is a lot like going over a cliff. Gave a bunch of us the heebie jeebies. It didn’t help that we had a nine year old boy to hold onto.
Patty wrapped that kid up like he was made of solid gold when they got near the bottom. She helped him off the ladder and you could see the joy on her face to have another little boy in her midst. It’s moments like these that make me remember and miss Randy. I didn’t even know him that long. I can’t imagine what goes through her and Abby’s head.
Tough day for memories for me now that I sit back and realize it. Gavin, and Randy both have hit me hard lately. I hope to god wherever they are, they are resting and happy.
I suspect they are not though, and that doubt will ruin many a night’s sleep for me.
Gilbert shook everyone’s hand as they came off the ladder. He’s such a good politician, as well as a welcoming old man. I love having him as a part of our crew.
Shit that reminds me, before we return to the clear the first two floors tomorrow, we’re going to try Gilbert’s loads he did for us in the armory. He swears up and down we’ll love them, and frankly, I’m excited to shoot them. He said we have enough for a full combat load out for three people, and we loaded up the magazines ourselves tonight as we got everyone settled into living space here on campus. Before we go out, we’ll pop off a few rounds to test them out.
Lindsey agreed to take in Martin, Julie, and Chester at the farm on Jones Road. That’s awesome, because they need to be outside in the fresh air, and it’s a great idea to get Lindsey some company. She’s been very much out of sorts since her daughter died in the attack, and having an extra kid around might do the trick for helping her start to round that corner and regain her positivity.
Alex and George are sort of a problem though. I am fairly certain Ollie does not like gay people, so sticking him in with Ollie and Melissa seem like a bad idea. Soooo… we put them in Hall A on the second floor in the old staff housing apartment upstairs. It’s nice and separate, better than most of the housing available, and gives them a little distance from Ollie in the event I’m right, and he decides to get all righteous on them. Hopefully I’m wrong about it.
Ryan and Zach are a pair Mr. Journal. They were staring at our weapons like we had walked straight off a bad action movie poster. I think they thought were complete bad asses, especially Abby. A cute chick who can hang with the big boys and drop the hammer as good as any of them? If I were their age, I’d have a boner over her too. I pray to the powers that be that neither of them are stupid enough to try hitting on her. They are not her type, she’s still not over Gavin, and she knows how to use her firearms.
We stuck them in Hall E with us on the third floor. Down the way from where Gavin made his room. I am not sure why, but they gave his spot a wide berth when they chose rooms. I wonder if he has some kind of residual cock-blocking presence up there? I’m hoping once we get them set up they become industrial gardeners. I’m a little concerned they’ll start grow operation for weed and smoke themselves retarded, but we really need the food they can offer us over winter. I guess I’ll play cards when that hand is dealt.
Now that the top floor is clear, we can get all their hydro gear up and out. It didn’t make a ton of sense for us to just rescue the people today. We know we want the building for strategic purposes, and we knew we’d likely get the stoners to return back with us, so we felt it was best for us to clear the top floor, make a safe evacuation route, and then deal with the other shit later. Time will tell if this was a shit plan or not.
Mallory is dead asleep next to me. When Hector, Abby and I were upstairs playing hero the streets got a little thick with walkers, and they had to earn dinner tonight. She was so wiped when we got back she ate, and pretty much put her face right into a pillow. I’m sitting up in bed typing on the laptop here, and she’s got her arm draped across my lap. I’m using it plus a small pillow as a computer table. Too funny.
One day I’ll let her read all this, and she’ll give me shit that I used her for that.
So we left everything behind at the building. Tomorrow we go back in through the roof, get down to the second floor, bust that door open, and make sure the remainder of the building is safe. Once that’s done, if there is enough time, we’ll transport all of Zach and Ryan’s plants back here so we can set up a larger hydroponics deal. They say they need gear to do it, and by golly, we’ll get them that gear. Fresh produce all winter will be the balls.
Oh fuck.. we need a barn for the cows for winter. Jesus the work never ends.
Sigh. Wish us more luck Mr. Journal. I have the sinking suspicion tomorrow will be much worse than today was.