I feel like my whole world has been squeezed inside a tiny snow globe, and then strapped on the back of one of those mechanical bulls you find in shady (or awesome, depending on your personal tastes) bars. My life is shaken, not stirred, and there’s shit flying everywhere that I really feel like I can’t do anything about.
I feel like I’m spread thin, like too little butter on toast. I can’t do everything that needs to be done fast enough. Gilbert told me today I need to let it all go, and just do what I can, and only worry about what I can actually control. He’s right, and I do need to do that, and start that damn soon. Abby pointed out a “new” grey hair on my head this morning and I glared at her. I’ve got some icy hot set aside with her name on it. I just need to find a cup to protect my balls, and that bitch will LEARN not to pick on my grey hair issues.
Alright, where to begin on this one? We’re busy, really, really fucking busy. However, things are going well, which tells me we are about to get bent, sans lube or reach around.
Nothing bad happened to us the past two days, which I guess constitutes what passes for a miracle nowadays. No one was hurt, no one was shot, nothing of note was broken, and my headaches and runny nose have improved to the point that I am not miserable and bitching about it nonstop. My cohorts have approved of my lightened complaining regimen. I told them to fuck themselves, and they all approved of that idea.
We are such a demented bunch.
We actually followed through on a plan the past two days with minimal resistance. Fuck I can’t say that, there was pretty harsh resistance both days, but we managed it. It’s almost to the point where the only noteworthy fighting is when someone gets hurt, or almost dies. Sad, but true. Anyway, yesterday we hit STIG again, spent the entire day at the industrial complex, and came away with goodies.
There are perhaps a half dozen buildings in the complex along with the wreckage of the STIG facility. Three of them are the equivalent of strip malls, only for offices and light manufacturing businesses. The remainder is warehouses or distribution facilities, with one being a larger manufacturing place. They actually make cardboard boxes, which might be of use down the line. We can burn them, use them as… boxes, or we can find some form of application for them I’m sure. They had a very full inventory on their warehouse racks.
So we essentially needed to leave that complex with one semi truck. That was it. That was all we needed. We took some measurements of Auburn Lake Road and decided that a trailer of 48 feet would be more than enough to serve as an adequate front gate. As it happens, 53 feet is the standard trailer length nowadays. I guess even after the apocalypse, you learn something new every day.
The industrial complex was *crawling* with the undead again. Hardcore. I don’t know why either. The only thing that we could divine was that survivors new to the area had visited the complex, and somehow led a fucking boatload of them into the area, and then figured out how to leave them there afterwards. And that doesn’t make a ton of sense either. I’ve said this before, but weirdness abounds.
Like a fucking pro we didn’t bring the plow truck either, so we had to make do with what we brought. We had the HRT as well as Gavin’s truck, and the Tundra. The Tundra is pretty well fucking beat up now, so I switched out with Patty, and went Grand Theft Auto on the parking lots as best I could.
Doing it that way is effective, but I mean this is wretched shit Mr. Journal. The sound of running over dead people is enough to put a fucking kink in your spine. When the fucking truck’s front tires crush the rib cage of a dead body, you can FEEL it in the steering wheel, and you KNOW what’s happening. *shudder*
Not to mention the smell over there was something else. The bodies from when we’d cleared the place before were now rotting in massive piles on the fringes of the parking lots where I’d plowed them. Fuck it was awful. So bad in fact we had to tie moist rags on our faces when we were outside to keep from yakking up breakfast. It smelled just… fucking bad.
Once I’d demolished as many of the walking dead in the parking lots and street of the complex with the Tundra, we all opened up and dropped those that were still foot mobile at range with the .22’s. Honestly, it made me really uncomfortable to make that much noise considering there were people moving back into the area, but we had no choice. They were too thick to kill manually until the movers were downed.
After maybe... I dunno, a hundred rounds amongst all of us, the crowd was thinned out to the point where we could go in, and put them down by hand with halligans and bats. I tell you what Mr. Journal, it’s a lot safer to smash the skulls of the dead when they’re more or less prone on the ground, but it gives me a fair amount of confidence when we’re wearing Abby’s shin guards. We’ve had enough close scrapes with undead biting at our heels doing this shit that we won’t go anywhere anymore without the guards on. In fact, it seems stupid to us now to even go off campus without wearing them.
As an aside, the last time we had to smash this many nuts near there, you might recall that both Patty and Abby went off the deep end as a result. This time, they were on point, and were fucking champions. Honestly, I really think having Gavin there had a lot to do with that. He’s a really good guy and I mean that. He keeps one eye on the zombie in front of him, and the other on Abby, making sure she’s safe. I think he’d jump on a pike for that girl.
We knocked out everything moving, everything lying down, and few things halfway in between. Once we felt like we had some real estate to work in for a buffer zone, we went into the warehouse to take care of business.
The warehouse we cleared yesterday was the cardboard box factory I already mentioned. We didn’t want to waste time clearing the other places, and plus, none of them seemed like they’d be primo loot territory anyway. Mainly we were attracted to that building because they had two trucks parked right at the docks in the back.
So yeah, creepy. I mean capital C Creepy. I haven’t been this unnerved since our first visit to the police station. The interior of the offices in the box factory was pitch black. Not many windows to speak of, and obviously the juice there was long since gone. Small streams of faint skylight slipped through cracks in doors, and under the jams here and there, but for the most part, it was as dark as a mausoleum inside. I cleared the building with Gavin, both of us holding flashlights in our off hands, and our M4’s in the other. I really wish we had foregrip lights on our M4’s, but there aren’t any handy. We almost went in with just handguns, but I thought the added firepower might be necessary.
Turned out to be irrelevant. The entire factory was empty. Well, empty of the living and the dead. It had plenty of shit worth stealing though. Ahem, acquiring. Stealing sounds so... harsh.
Lots of tools. They also had some drywall and interior finish quality lumber, and from the looks of it, they were building some offices inside, and didn’t get to finish the project. Yay for that I suppose. Paint, a little bit of cleaning supplies, a small amount of toilet paper and paper towel, multiple huge ass water jugs filled (empty), as well as a couple of those neat water cooler-dispensers, which might come in handy at some point. We also found industrial cleaners, grease, filters, a small lathe, just a mess of shit that was or could be useful.
They had vending machines in their break room, but they were smashed open and stripped clean. I suppose Brian’s people raided the shit out of these area businesses some time ago. Honestly I’m astonished to find anything leftover in here. Maybe he decided to leave it where it sat figuring he could come back anytime he wanted?
Oh! And pallets. Lots, and lots, and lots of pallets. We wound up filling an entire trailer just with pallets. Pallet wood makes for great firewood, but I’m wondering if we can’t ramshackle something together using them as raw materials. At the very least, we can use them as some kind of building material.
They also had a forklift, but it was set up with the hard, small wheels that won’t run for shit outside. Didn’t make much sense to steal a forklift that we couldn’t drive outside with. The only places on campus that would be large enough to use it in would be the gym or cafeteria, and there’s no need for that unless we bring racking back for storage. (maybe that’s a whole other good idea) Not to mention how the hell would we get it back to campus? Put it in the trailer, get it back to campus, then what? How do we get it out of the fucking trailer and on the ground?
Can you picture that going down? Me getting into the forklift and driving it off the back end of the damn truck? YEEEE!! SMASH! Both forks implanted into the middle of the road on campus. Then it tumbles ass over bambox and I get smooshed underneath it.
If we need a forklift that bad, we’ll find one somewhere else.
We found the truck keys in a key storage thingy on the wall of an office. Both trucks too. I’m gonna mix this up, and say I feel…. Warren Buffett rich for that find. One truck, and I’ll revert back to Oprah rich. Two trucks mean the big leagues, and Mr. Buffett.
As I said, we filled one entirely with pallets, and the other we put all our loot from the warehouse in. It wasn’t a massive haul I suppose, but we were stoked nonetheless. Now as far as driving the damn things are concerned, I’ve got a smidge of experience with the big rigs, and so does Gavin, so the two of us drove them. The other vehicles were piloted by Gilbert and Abby. Now, we knew in our heart of hearts that we needed to get chainlink fencing, so when we pulled the trucks away from the docks, we decided that we would rip out all the fencing in the park while we were there.
Mr. Journal, there was a lot of chainlink fence around that place. We were dead as doornails when we finished last night as a result. We got perhaps a tenth of the fencing there too.
Protip #1: winching a chainlink fence post out of the ground with the HRT is a big old bucket of fail. Pretty much just bends the fucking pole right over like a pipe cleaner, or a steel bendy straw. Lost two poles in said manner before abandoning that as a removal strategy.
Protip #2: shoveling out the fence post manually takes forfuckingever, and is a giant waste of time, and is thus a similarly sized bucket of fail.
Protip #3: Shoveling out one side of the fencepost, then winching it carefully in that direction results in the clean removal of said fencepost.
Protip #4: At the bottom of every fencepost removed in this manner, there is an enormous blob of concrete shaped like a wedge that the post was stuck in. Said blob of concrete is very heavy, and remarkably unwieldy.
Protip #5: Hydrate. (that’s just good advice)
In fact, this whole process sucks so much fucking ass, I went inside the warehouse and grabbed a phonebook to see if there were any fencing companies anywhere that we could just pick the shit up from, and skip this whole affair. Sadly, there are not any nearby. Weirdly enough, there are several companies that offer fences or fencing supplies in the city, and I’d rather have sex with a garbage disposal than go into that fucking city.
More on that later Mr. Journal. Not the having sex with a garbage disposal part. Fucking weirdo.
So once we figured out that was how we could get them out reasonably fast, we went to work with the halligans, a pickaxe from the HRT, and a couple of shovels we brought just for the occasion. Gilbert plopped his ass on the roof of the truck, and we yanked out about 25 of the fence posts, and something along the lines of 250 feet of fencing. It’ll be a hardcore bitch to install it in the next few days/weeks, but it needs to be done.
When we returned to campus, we parked the truck filled with pallets in the road, creating our official Auburn Lake road block. The way the road is set up, there’s no way around the truck in a vehicle, or any way to get in front of it, or behind it to tow it out of the way. Someone would have to cut down trees, fill a culvert, etc etc. The point is, it ain’t happening without a shitload of work, and us hearing it. Obviously we took the keys out too. Hopefully that’ll cut down on the chances of anyone driving right up here and straight to the bridge. Incidentally, we are still leaving one van parked on the bridge as a secondary road block. Defenses need to be layered. These might be paper thin, but we’re working on it.
We told Ollie we checked the phone book, and he suggested we hit up the garden supply store in town. The same one I got the seeds from “that day.” He said those businesses almost always have raw materials somewhere to build fences. After all, what sense is it planting a garden if the animals can get to it at night? Sage advice Ollie, you’re worth your weight in green beans. Or bullets. And that’s really valuable.
We slept very, very well last night.
Today’s op was of a different nature. Remember that unfinished development I saw back when I scouted this side of town? The one with all the bricks under tarps, and concrete blocks and cement mix and stuff? We returned there bright and early with a reduced crew size. Gilbert said he was tired last night, and needed a break, so he took today off. I can’t blame him, it’s silly of us to expect a guy his age to keep up with our pace.
Patty also asked to bow out, due to requiring a mental health day. She said that she wanted to spend some time with Melissa, and that’s a great idea. I think we should all spend some time with Ollie and Melissa as we move forward. When the fuck we’ll find that time is someone else’s guess, cuz I’m a little short of spare time lately.
Bright and motherfucking early we rolled out once more. I guess the early wakeup wasn’t that harsh, because we all pretty much ate pillow right after chow. Nothing puts you to sleep like physical and mental exhaustion. I’m happy to report, no weird dreams either.
The construction site is/was in an area we haven’t reached yet in terms of clearing the area. It’s about a quarter mile out from where we’ve been so far, so it stands to reason that the undead presence there would be slightly reduced. After all, we’re making noise as we clear, and as we’ve learned, noise draws them in.
I think there might’ve been a grand total of a dozen undead over the course of the morning and early afternoon to contend with, and Abby was Johnny on the spot dealing with them as Gavin and I loaded everything into the back of the trucks. Oh, that reminds me, the damn Tundra was sputtering kind of like when Gilbert’s old Chevy died. I think it might have something to do with specific fuel we’re using. I’m thinking on it.
So there were two whole pallets stacked waist high filled with bricks. There was a third pallet filled with cement blocks as well. We loaded those onto the two trucks brick by fucking brick as well as twelve bags of cement mix.
Downside of the apocalypse: physical labor is a motherfucker.
Upside of the apocalypse: by the end of summer, we will all be jacked up like a home run hitter from the Steroid era. Strong like bull.
We also hitched up a small portable power gas powered generator, which is great because the key to it was still in it, and that means as long as we can keep it running, we have electricity on the go. There was also a fair amount of pressure treated lumber as well as some waist high chainlink fencing, but we left that behind after throwing a tarp on the lumber. It looked surprisingly good on inspection, and I think it’ll be usable for us somewhere on campus.
We returned back here, trucks bottoming out the entire way, enlisted the labor force that had remained behind to unload the trucks, and made the no huddle offense call to go to the garden center. Gilbert wasn’t around to call us idiots, and Gavin and Abby were 100% with the idea, so we grabbed a decent late lunch, and headed out to cross town.
I’ll be the first person to raise my hand from the corner of the room whilst wearing the dunce cap and say this was not my best idea. Last second plans like these are never, ever bright, and really should only be attempted under dire circumstances. This was a “hey, we have time, and we should get something cool done” situation, which is not particularly dire.
The trip across town in the trucks was eerily quiet. I had fully expected to see a lot of undead milling about, but in actuality there were very few. Unnerving. With all our noise it made all the sense in the world that they would be moving across town towards our general direction, but I guess that’s not the case. To me, that means there’s something else making noise, or drawing their attention. More on that later.
The garden center is set back in a decent sized parking lot. Right next to the land the garden center is on there is a small strip mall with a Chinese restaurant (awesome dumplings), and a few small businesses. There is a check cashing place, a thrift store, etc. We should think about hitting the restaurant soon, I wonder if there are cooking supplies left in there. Or cats. Kitty on stick!
I’d guess and say the building is perhaps the size of a gymnasium with some extra fat on the sides. It’s big, but not like Kmart or Walmart big. It’s a small town garden center. On one side of the place is an outdoor lawn center type dealio where they stored the trees and shrubs and shit they sold. Some of those were still behind. I guess stealing plants that don’t produce food just wasn’t a high priority for anyone.
I know, weird, right? I was just thinking campus needed a few hedges. Because hedges are awesome. (Sadly, a hedge might be some serious anti zombie technology. If it was a good, thick hedge, they’d eat shit trying to walk over it, then spend a retarded amount of time trying to right themselves with their asses hung up in the air. File hedges under: to be considered)
Anyway. The parking lot of the place had an unreasonably large amount of undead in it, which was troubling. It definitely led us all to think that there was some kind of reason for them to be there, and we were correct.
About a third of the undead were at the double glass doors, banging away trying to get inside. To prevent us from shattering the doors, we parked the trucks at the end of the building on the corner, and started shooting across the front of the place. On the outside chance there were survivors inside, we really wanted to protect the doors.
As soon as we started unloading at them, the entire crowd wheeled on us, and surged. It was without a doubt a pants wrecking moment. It was almost like they were in unison, hive mind thinking-esque or something. Creepy once again. Recurring theme lately.
At one point they were getting so close, Gavin and I went cyclic at head level to buy us time to load into the trucks and back away out into the road. Bodies were piling up as we backed away, and once we got out into the road we noticed that there were a few dozen more approaching down the street from both sides. I called for an ammo count, and once we all confirmed that we still had a good amount, we opened up again.
Sweaty balls Mr. Journal. Sweaty balls. Sphincter tightening to say the least. Abby and Gavin are both nearly deaf tonight, and the only reason why I’m not saying I’m nearly deaf tonight is because I was already nearly deaf going into today. Daily fucking gunfire with no hearing protection will be the death of our eardrums.
I know I know. I never stop bitching.
We got inside the garden center by smashing out the glass doors that we tried so hard to not to shoot. Oh, the irony. Someone had locked the double doors, and all the exterior entrances were zipped up tight. Inside, right at the same counter where the young girl barely paid attention to me “that day” was a man with a huge bite mark on his arm, and an obliterated head. There was a double barrel scattergun on the floor between his feet.
Do the math on what happened there. The blood was still slick and gooey, which meant he’d died damn recently. Not sure on the coagulation rate of human blood, but he couldn’t have been dead for more than a day at most.
Gavin watched the front door and took out the slow stream of stragglers that were headed into our AO. He called them out over the radio as they approached, then smashed in their heads with the halligan. Luckily, once we’d dealt with that fat rush of the dead, the crowd never got overwhelming again. We only had to stop to assist him once, and that was a piece of cake. Maybe eight of them roaming towards us in a small pack. Shoot a few to thin it out, smash the rest of the heads once it’s safer. It’s all about managing threat density with these assholes.
I’ll make an already ridiculously long story short. The garden center did indeed have fencing materials. They had a dozen or so rolls of waist high chainlink, and the uprights to match. They had fertilizer still, as well as potting soil, more seeds, pots, bird feeders (which Ollie requested, oddly enough), and blah blah blah. They also had more bricks, patio stones, concrete blocks, and farming oriented tools, which we actually didn’t grab, as there’s a small farm nearby, and Ollie hadn’t mentioned needing anything tool oriented. With any luck, we won’t have to return here.
We took all of what I’ve already mentioned, and then some. Both truck beds were full to the top, and we actually had to use rope to get it secured for the trip home. Good thing too, because we had to evade a rather large scale increase of the zombie population on the roads heading back too. I think the noise that had attracted them away had abated, and our much more interesting noise had lured them in our general direction.
Noise is like Zombie-pong. Zombie in the middle. Or maybe even keep away, but we’re living bait.
I hope Blake is okay. When we were coming back through town I caught the smell of fresh wood smoke, which I haven’t smelled in a very long time in that area. Someone is staying warm with a fire, or their house is burning down. Either way, it strikes me as signs of life where there were none recently.
Oh, and I also realized while we were loading shit at the garden center that dumpsters might be great barricades or obstacles. One in the middle of a road would do wonders to stop traffic. If we can find a trash truck to pick them up, we could totally line them up to create some serious barrier action.
I’ll add that to my list of shit to do. Right after I scratch my balls.
I’m dead. Just flat out exhausted. I just inhaled a half dozen ibuprofen and an allergy pill. Drifting off into the sweet realm of sleep as Otis circles my feet, waiting for me to get finalized on my sleeping position. I’m putting some soft music on to rest to as well. I think tonight I’ll opt for some Frank Sinatra.
Ole blue eyes can lull me to sleep.
Peace out Mr. Journal.
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