More blood my hands today Mr. Journal. Seems to be the rule lately. Adrian gets to kill people who may or may not deserve it. Our hand may be played with Westfield. I don’t know how this will work out, but it seems the wheels are in motion. I need to stop rambling. Man I’m an idiot some days.
Sigh. I hope this doesn’t make things worse. Gilbert isn’t sure one way or the other. As I said in the last entry I had the time for I planned on returning to Westfield yesterday. I did. Before I left yesterday Gilbert and I planned a different route into the town on side roads that were even more off the beaten path. It was almost all side roads to get there, and I tell you man what a bitch of a drive. I almost switched to the maintenance plow just to make it a little easier, but I didn’t want to risk losing the plow if something should happen. Not that a plow isn’t replaceable, I just don’t want one more fucking hassle. I’ve got 99 problems now, and a plow isn’t one.
Seems like no matter where you go in the world there’s always one main way to get there, and then a bunch of out of the way routes to get there. For example, I can take Route 18 all the way to the interstate to get to the city. Straight shot. However, I can take a combination of twenty different back roads to get there. Same idea here.
I arrived in the outskirts of Westfield at about 11am. The side roads I took brought me right near the farm I’d seen the other day, so it was a longer drive, but a much shorter walk. I established that my recon yesterday would largely be on foot, so I didn’t set up anywhere. Using the snowshoes I made decent progress through the woods around the farm. The snow was packed hard from the freeze/thaw cycles, so it was easy moving. I had the M15 slung on my back, and I rolled with the Savage so I could observe through the scope. I tied the white sheet to my back like a cape, and used a handful of safety pins to attach the edge of the sheet to my sleeve cuffs. In a crouch I could wrap up and go completely white against the snow. Pretty clever if I do say so myself.
The farm itself was fairly small. This isn’t a massive dairy operation, or a chicken factory. Like I said there was one large chicken building that was maybe a hundred feet long, plus a good sized barn and a reasonable farmhouse. Few shed style outbuildings as well. I got close enough in three or four spots where I could see with the Savage that there were indeed chickens in the long building, and at least three cows in the barn. I suspect there were more cows than that, but I couldn’t get an angle to see. Judging from the beaten down snow and the piles of shit all over the place, I’d guess at maybe 6 to 8 cattle. Looks clearly like a family run farm.
My friends in the pickup truck arrived once again at a little after three and stayed until a little after four. They brought back empty crates and when they left the same crates were full. I was set up about 25 yards into the woods, and with the scope I could clearly see they had bottles of milk with them.
Fresh milk. Oh dear.
The same old man from the day before greeted them and saw them off. After they left he went back inside, then a few minutes later came out on the back porch with a cup of coffee. He fired up a pipe and smoked it out there for about half an hour, then headed back inside as the sun was finally dipping down.
Once the sun was down I exfil’d back to the truck, and headed home. The ride back was just as shitty as the ride there, in case you were curious Mr. Journal. Shit-tastic winter we’re having here.
I got home at about 8pm and we had ourselves a pow-wow. After explaining the trip of the passenger truck and lack of a second exit from the farm we essentially had ourselves a bottle neck for the truck. The only exit for them was on the plowed road, or through really thick snow, and the smaller truck wouldn’t be able to handle it. If we slipped a few 2x4s into the snow right there, we’d be even better off in preventing an exit that way.
Gilbert and I agreed that the best ambush location would be near the cape on the corner, but perhaps a few hundred feet south. That way we’d be obscured from the farm, and still quite a ways from the high school should they send a QRF to answer an ambush on the small truck. After some pretty raucous arguments, we decided that using Abby as bait would be our best plan.
Abby walks down the road with me in a house with the Savage. Gilbert sets up nearby with the snowmobile, and when the truck sees Abby, she gets them to stop to “help her.” Gilbert rides out on the snowmobile with the AK, asks them to drop their weapons and radios, and we begin our question and answer session. Hopefully it all ended with no violence.
And by now you already know it ended with violence. Gilbert and I (rashly, you could argue) decided to hit the truck today. We’ve got a lot of intel, and the longer we wait, the more time they have to attack us. Patty’s rib has gotten good enough that she could take watch in Hall A while we were gone so she obviously begged up a storm to come along. We told her it was a bad idea, and after yet another screaming session, she conceded that she actually was still in fair amount of pain. Patty has done a lot of screaming since Charles and Randy died. I hope she can find some calm soon because that bitch has pipes. It’s a good thing I’m half deaf from fucking gunfire.
Gilbert, Abby and I took off in the plow truck. We got the snowmobile loaded and grabbed up a bunch of good shit and were on the road by 4am. We arrived just as the sun was rising, and when we saw no additional tracks in the road, we headed to the same spot I’d parked on my second trip to Westfield. Abby and Gilbert sat up a rear guard with the snowmobile until I got fifteen minutes ahead on foot. After that time they rode out very slowly following my tracks until they reached the spot I’d decided for the ambush.
Abby and I slipped into and cleared another small home for me to use and Gilbert rode the snowmobile around and towards the farm so if they suddenly slammed the truck into reverse he’d be able intercept them. At just about five after three the truck drove by heading to the farm. I was set up in a second floor window with a radio, and I could clearly see the quarter of a mile or so to the farm. I had an almost perfect little space between the trees and houses so I could see the driveway, and when the truck parked in the yard, I could see it.
Gilbert and Patty had a radio on them as well, and we switched to a seldom used channel and did a hot mike test to make sure no one else heard us. We sent some garbled chatter out, waited for reply, and after ten minutes we were reasonably sure we had the channel to ourselves. Abby staged down at the door of the house, and when I saw the two people get in the truck at the farm, I hollered down to her they were on their way.
Abby jogged outside through the snow and made it to the road, and started walking slowly as if she was heading towards the general direction of the high school. We planned on her having a hot mic so Gilbert and I could hear any conversation she had. It took maybe two minutes after that for the truck to reach a point in the road where she could be seen. They slowed down, and through the scope I could see the male passenger fumble for, and get a handgun ready. They didn’t radio anyone though, which was great.
Abby waved back at them at just about the perfect time. They might’ve mistaken her for a dead chick if she waited too long. Like we had discussed, she spun to face them, and then did a wave and a handful of “OMG! PEOPLE!” jumps. She basically freaked out like a cheerleader, which was really funny to watch, because if you knew Abby, she is so not a cheerleader. Probably pretty enough, but there’s too much faux penis and nerd culture in her.
The truck slowed, and came to a stop about 15 feet from her. I got up and bounded down the steps three at a time and switched to the M15 so I could come out the front door if I had to. The passenger stepped out of the truck and I watched the female driver put it in park. Mistake #1. Never put your car in park when you might need to get away in a hurry.
Over Abby’s mic we could hear the man talking faintly, and with eyes-on I could read his lips, and make out the whole conversation. Here’s what I remember before shit went south.
“Holy shit, people!” Abby hollered out.
“Show me your hands please!” The guy said back.
“Oh sorry!” She already had her hands out, but she raised them out so she wasn’t being a threat. He said thanks very politely, and Abby smiled at him. “Hey are you guys from here? I’ve been moving through some side towns here and was heading this way to look for food. Most of these houses are completely emptied.” She gestured around at the rows of houses in the development we were in.
“I’m part of the Westfield Council. We’re currently centered in the high school a mile or two down the road here. We’ve got plenty of food if you need a place to stay. There’s plenty spare food for everyone.” The guy was congenial, and looked older than he probably was. I caught a faint hint of him being a little slow too. Maybe too much time watching porn instead of hitting the books or something. Sort of tall with receding reddish hair and was a little chubby even, which told me a lot. I was pretty round when the shit hit the fan in June, but now, I’m lean and there’s little cushion. If this guy was still chubby, then they really were eating good there. That told me a lot.
Abby took a few seconds to respond, and I had to stifle a laugh, “Oh yeah I bet you guys have free candy back there too. I uh, think I’ll pass on the ride back to Pedo-ville. Do you guys have any food with you though? Just a granola bar or something?”
The guy clearly didn’t get the joke. He wasn’t pissed, but the humor went right over his head. He took a few steps back, still holding the gun in her direction, and popped open the passenger door of the small truck. I couldn’t hear him, but he was talking to the woman driving. After listening to him, she hopped out herself, and approached Abby. She had a long dark ponytail, and was wearing a digital camo National Guard jacket.
“Hey, what’s your name?” The woman asked. I didn’t like her posture. It said “bitch” to me. Abby kind of stiffened when the two of them were both out of the truck.
“I’m Clara. I used to live in Morgan, right down the road back that way.” She pointed to the general direction of the farm. It was nice to have a local doing the talking. I had no idea what the names of the little shitville burgs were around here.
“Well Clara, we really need help, and it’d mean the world to us if you would come back with us to the school. You could meet the rest of the council, and we could get you a cool job and everything.” You know, it sounded an awful like she was trying to make it sound like an offer, but it came off as a threat.
To her credit, Abby responded very smart, “okay, but I’ve got some questions first.”
The woman nodded, like she expected it.
“How many people do you have? I don’t think really large groups are safe anymore.” Abby put the “I’m scared” frowny face on.
“I think there are 40 of us right now, but two of the ladies are pregnant, and due by summer. So it’d be 41 with you, and 43 by summer.” The woman seemed particularly proud.
“Wow, having babies, do you guys have a doctor there? That’d be great.” Abby faked a smile.
“Kind of, we have a woman who was a physician’s assistant at the local clinic. She’s pretty sharp. She’s studying up for the deliveries on the kids something fierce. We’re pretty excited.” Her and the guy exchanged smiles. They did seem genuinely excited to have more kids show up.
“Wow, cool. Who is charge there?” Abby was starting to feign interest, to keep them going.
“Well, technically we’re a council, so there’s no official like mayor or anything, but our council is chaired by two people, Sean Stockwell, and my Lieutenant from the Guard base in town, Lt. Daniels. Sean’s pretty much the guiding force, but he needs the Lt’s support to get big shit done, so it works out. The rest of the council is people from town from before. Well, before all this.” She gestured around. This intel was a fucking goldmine if it was all true. Also made me wonder where all the guardsmen were if there was a base here in town. I wonder what the base was responsible for, and what gear they might have kicking around.
“Wow. And you guys have plenty of food? How is that possible?” Abby continued with her drilling.
The man spoke up and answered, “Well, there were two grocery stores in town, and the Chief and the Lieutenant secured them right off the bat when things went south. We got them emptied and got all the food into the school right off the bat. Plus there was a bunch of restaurants that we got the food from, and then my family runs McDowell farm back there. They provide security and fuel for my dad at the farm, and we share our milk and eggs and occasionally a chicken or two. Works out great.”
Again.. all solid gold intel.
Abby nodded and thought about it. She was making it look like she was going to go, but the deal was she’d tell them she couldn’t, because she had to return to get her sister first or something. The deal was, don’t get in the truck. “Well, that all sounds great, can I meet you here tomorrow? I need to get my little sister first. I can’t leave her alone overnight.”
“We’ll help you get her.” The woman responded. I remember just about then I got that dumping sensation in the pit of my stomach right before things go bad.
Abby was not prepared for that response, and she stammered some, “I uh, I’m all set thanks, but tomorrow if you want to meet us here again sometime that’d work.”
“No, I think now is best Clara. It’s getting late, it’ll be dark soon, you might run into one of the dead folks, and we can’t have that happening.” The woman reached to her hip and rested her hand on what I figured was a handgun. I dropped to a knee inside the living room of the house and put the sights of the M15 on the woman. If she drew, she died. The man already had his pistol out, but it was hanging down, and he clearly was uncomfortable with the sudden change of stance from the woman.
Abby made her only mistake, and looked right at the window I was behind. She panicked and gave my position away. The woman put two and two together, and spun to face me, drawing her weapon. The man stood still. Before she got the gun up and presented herself as a threat, I snapped off a single round. The windows of the house were open from the summer, and I sent the high velocity .223 bullet right through an opening in the window. The woman doubled over and fell on her side, dropping the pistol. The man’s face went white as the sheet on my back as he watched the chick drop. Abby reached into the small of her back and drew her Beretta. Almost immediately the man dropped his pistol.
I moved out the door and through the snow, keeping my weapon on the man. The woman was rolling on the ground, bleeding heavily from the shot to her chest. She was coughing as well, spitting up some blood. Once again, I hit the lungs. Getting good at that. I told Abby to watch him, and I rendered first aid to the woman.
She died as soon as I got her sat up against the tire of the truck. I must’ve hit something a lot more important than just a lung. Maybe the heart? Who knows. Lots of important stuff in your chest when it comes to getting shot there. I swore up and down quietly and repeatedly for a minute or two as the dude just watched in horror. He was totally unprepared for this. I stood up, grabbed the woman’s Beretta 92F pistol as well as the two magaziness in her jacket pocket, slung the M15, and walked over to him.
He took a few steps back, and I picked up his pistol. It was another Beretta 92F. Or an M9 as the military calls it. They must’ve been Guard issued or at least from the Guard base. Enticing factoid.
Here’s a summary of our conversation;
“Do you know who we are?”
“I have no idea who you are.”
“My name is Adrian Ring. I’m the guy your leader Sean decided to attack twice now.” I wasn’t threatening him, just passing along info. Once I said that his eyes lit up.
“You’re the dude who killed all our people at Christmas? You’re a fricking monster, you just killed Tera. Oh gosh no, oh shit…” I caught a whiff of urine.
“Look man, what’s your name?” I put on the Adrian “I’m really your friend” face.
“Oliver. They call me Ollie.” His eyes were as wide as Lindsey Lohan’s after a meth binge. Well, as wide as they might’ve been if she were still alive at least. You get the point Mr. Journal.
“Ollie, I am really sorry I had to shoot Tera. But she was probably going to shoot me. And I’m sure if you had the chance to shoot someone who was about to shoot you, you would do the same, right?”
“Uh yeah, I guess.” Stronger smell of urine. His dark jeans looked a little darker around the crotch.
“Excellent Ollie. Here’s what you need to know. We want nothing to do with violence. However, your leader Sean followed people from here to where we are, and then attacked us to get our food. Now we’re hungry too, and you don’t just attack people and take their food. You start peaceful trade, or barter, right?” I was trying to talk slow, and appear as non-threatening as possible. I didn’t even have a gun pointed at him.
“Yeah, but they told us you attacked them when they followed people leaving here.”
“That’s horseshit Ollie. And if you know Sean like I know Sean, you know he’s feeding you bullshit. Anything to get your people to hate us. Shit, you guys blew up a gas station near us the other night, as well as a building in the town we live in. Over a hundred people died the other day because of Sean, Ollie. That’s a lot of spilled blood over nothing.”
His face squirreled up on me when I said that, and I knew he wasn’t lying, “I knew about the gas station, but the building you’re talking about, that’s news to me. Don’t forget mister, you shot and killed three of our people when we hit the gas station the other night.”
“The ones with empty guns you mean?”
His face went pale white and I knew he had no idea what I was talking about.
“Yeah Ollie, they had guns, and I shot them because they were still there holding them. But when I checked, their guns were empty. Any chance those people that died that night were maybe against Sean’s ideas at all?”
No answer, he just looked down at the ground trying to hide his expression. I responded with a hmph.
“Ollie how many pistol magazines do you have on you?”
He thought for a second and replied, “I’ve got one in the gun, plus two more in my pocket.”
Just then I heard the dead woman start to move around on the ground behind me. I excused myself and yanked the hatchet off the belt hanger, and as she started the real severe twitching right before fully reanimating, I thunked the hatchet into the top of her skull. One more kibby later and she went still.
After I pried the hatchet out of her head, I went back to Ollie, “gimme the two mags in your pocket man.” He did. I dropped the mag out of the Beretta and rifled it down the road. It skipped and slid about 75 yards or so. I pocketed the two magazines and searched the interior of the truck. There was a police radio, and I took it. I killed the motor, and threw the keys down the road near the gun magazine. No other guns or good stuff. In the back of the truck they had the crates of milk, as well as three dozen eggs and what looked like a butchered chicken or two.
Here’s where I took the moral high ground, “Ollie, you know as well as I do there’s nothing stopping Miss Clara here from putting nine millimeters through your forehead right?” I tilted my head towards the angry little blonde in the road.
Ollie nodded at me solemnly.
“I don’t want to hurt you, and neither does she. Furthermore, I don’t want to steal your food. You’ve got pregnant woman to feed, and I’m sure you’ve got kids there as well, right?”
He nodded again.
“So the food is yours. When we leave, you walk to the keys and the magazine, and then you come back to the truck. How you decide to tell the rest of the people what happened here is up to you, but I sincerely hope you tell them exactly what happened. Tera was shot when she pointed a gun at me, and I’m regretful it happened. You make sure to tell them I’m sorry for it, okay?”
He nodded again. I noticed the faint glimmer of hope in his face when he figured out he was going to walk away from the situation alive.
“Now you need to pass along a message for me, and I need you to understand fully that I am as serious as someone can possibly be about this, okay?” I gave him the “Adrian means business face.”
“You can tell this to Sean, but I’d prefer you told it to the people who are against him. Okay?”
He nodded again.
“Sean has done wrong by me, and he’s done wrong by my people. Now this is no longer a country made of laws, but justice will be served in this regard. I expect you all to understand that attacking my people for no good reason, blowing up a perfectly good gas station filled with fuel, then blowing up a building filled with my friends, is entirely unacceptable. I’ve never done anything to you people here, other than this today.”
“I want Sean. Sean and only Sean. He pays for his crimes against me and my people. I want nothing to do with hurting anyone, but mark my words Ollie; I will tear your school down brick by bloody brick until that man is brought before me to pay for what he’s done.”
Ollie pissed himself again.
“Talk to your people. Tell them we want peace, but he needs to pay for what he’s done. If he isn’t brought before me within 20 days, then I will start forcing the issue. I really do not want to force the issue Ollie.” Serious Adrian is Serious.
“We have your radio now. We will be turning it on every other day at noon to listen for transmissions on,” I saw they were on channel 4, “channel 5. If you want to communicate in a diplomatic fashion, I suggest you radio my people. Our first day listening will be the 15th.”
Ollie nodded, “Channel five, at noon, every other day, starting on the 15th, roger.”
“Ollie I want to apologize for putting this on you, it wasn’t our intention for things to go this way. Shit happens man, this is bad times for everyone.” I put my hand gently on his shoulder. He didn’t flinch, which I took as a good sign. I don’t think he was afraid of me anymore, and that meant he believed me. (in my head at least)
“Start walking towards the gun and the keys. We’re going to head this way. When you get to the keys and the magazine, you can come back to the truck and get the gun. We’ll drop it about 25 yards in the opposite direction, okay?”
He nodded, “yeah, thanks for not killing me.”
“Ollie, I want nothing to do with killing people. I just want Sean dead, and it’s debatable he’s even human anymore.”
Ollie nodded back at me, and started walking past Abby. Abby and I made eye contact and we booked it towards the area where Gilbert had the snowmobile. I dropped the empty Beretta in the road and we were gone like ghosts.
Gilbert got us back to the truck and we hightailed it the fuck out of town. Roads were shitty again but we’ve beaten them into submission the past few days. I was really angry over how it went down, but Gilbert said it was perfect. He had the feeling that Tera bitch was one of Sean’s people, and that dropping her actually helped us.
We got back an hour ago. I’m exhausted. Gilbert is up with Patty taking the first shift of the watch. If we’re going to get hit, it’ll be in a few hours. If we don’t get hit, then my bet is Ollie passed the message along to the people over there who wanted to hear it, and we’ve started to sow the seeds of rebellion in Westfield.
Brick by brick Sean. Brick by brick.