Man what a whirlwind. We’ve been super busy here on campus. Thought yesterday started out with a nightmare, but it turned into a bit of a good thing.
Abby and Patty wanted to head back out to hit the last two houses heading west on Route 18 yesterday. I was all for that. The girls were feeling good about themselves. After all, we’d cleared three houses in a day, gotten a really substantial amount of food, and they’d dropped what? 10-12 zombies to boot? That’s like a positive on almost every level. I mean yeah, Patty almost died, but honestly we had it handled. Lol. Sounds funny.
The girls actually came over to Hall E and woke me up early. Well, they did as well as Otis sitting on my chest slowly kneading me with his little paws. His purring vibrates my rib cage. That’s his subtle way of telling me that his food bowl is empty. I think the girls were excited. They were banging on the door something fierce and hollering up for me to “wake up lazy pants!” I mean it’s nice to be woken by two ladies, but I was getting some decent sleep for a change. I skipped the morning shower after letting them in, and I downed a cup of instant coffee. Still not using the super fancy coffee maker I got out of that house on Auburn Lake Road. Seems stupid if I don’t have milk to steam.
A few snacks later, and I was geared up and we headed out. I think it was 9am. Just as we were getting into the truck to head out, we heard this terrible smashing noise from maybe a quarter mile away, down the Auburn Lake Road. The girls held fast and I drove the truck to the bridge. Gilbert came over the radio asking what the hell was going on, and a minute later Brian came over the radio asking if we needed help. I told them to calm down. Once I got to the bridge I saw what happened.
Remember those trees we pre-cut for the Westfield ambush? It was a little snowy on the night before the what? The 28th?, and the trees were chock full of snow, and when the breeze kicked up, it took one of them down across the road. Fucking tree falling down. I radioed that we were fine and that a tree had fallen down. I zipped back to the ladies, told them what happened, and we scored a chainsaw and went to the tree. After an hour of chopping the limbs off and getting it cut down to size, we got Randy and Gilbert on moving the fresh firewood back to campus for splitting. Crisis turned into supplies. Yay. Although that does make me worry about the other trees we prepped to cut. Shit I don’t even remember now how many we did. I’ll have to check that in a bit. (Kinda cool that Brian responded so fast from across town. Does seem to say something about his character)
We made the trip down to the last two houses and started the house clearing process. This time I let the girls do more of the work while I watched and pulled security. The only thing I really wanted to do myself was the actual door kicking, and room clearing with the shotgun. They don’t have trigger time with a shotgun time yet and they’re not quite ready for going into a house solo. I did bring Patty inside with me on one house and Abby the other, so we’re getting them good experience.
Both houses had no undead, but one did have dead bodies inside. I wound up getting the back door open and dragging the corpses outside so the women didn’t hurl all over the place. One house was a double wide mobile home, and the other a fairly small cape with an addition on the side for a new family room. The mobile home had a suicide in it, which is a mixed blessing. The person did it with a 20 gauge pump shotgun, and where there’s one gun, there’s usually a few more. We picked up the 20ga, another 12ga pump, and a pair of muzzle loaders. Good thing about that is the black powder. They had 24 12 gauge shells, and 24 20 gauge shells. Nice haul all things considered. Fair amount of food too. Well, there were 8 cans of clams, which is… weird. Not a huge fan of canned clams. They were probably chowder enthusiasts
Few good supplies, more gun cleaning stuff there. Honestly finding ammunition is just awesome. The cape was empty of people dead, undead, or otherwise, and had a reasonably good supply of food inside. I think we salvaged about 24 cans of food out of it, which was nice. I did notice the back door was already kicked in when we did our search, and the house was completely devoid of valuables. By valuables I mean electronics, jewelry, cash etc. I bet some asshole from one of the houses nearby stole it. Come to think of it, one of the next houses down the road is the house where I got my Xbox and PS3, and the big tv and all the movies. I wonder if that guy was the one who broke in there? Food for thought. At least whoever did it left a lot of food behind. Mostly soups and broths, but those have their uses. No clams either. WIN!
I think we were doing the house cleaning thing for three hours when we wrapped up. We’d lost time on the fallen tree that morning, and we’d taken our sweet ass time getting those two houses done. I actually showed the girls some basic CQB tactics, and explained the idea of violence in action. Doesn’t really apply versus zombies, but it’s still valuable to know. I also showed them how to slice the pie, which scared the beejesus out of them. Look that shit up Mr. Journal. Savage way to end someone’s life.
We jaunted back towards campus, and I decided to take a short detour to see how many houses we had skipped over heading east, and we found three just between the gas station and the log cabin that the assholes who attack Gilbert were living in. We made a plan that within a few days we’d head to hit those, and that seemed to excite them. We stopped at two houses I thought I left dog food in during the clearing out process. I was wrong about the first house, but we went to the Jones Road farm, and there was definitely food there. We hadn’t plowed that road out though, so it took forever for us to push all that snow out of the way. Two feet of snow does not give up the ghost easily.
We wound up getting back to campus around 4pm. Time flies when you’re having fun. We unloaded our haul into the cafeteria like normal, and I decided I’d relax and hit the books. Felt like it’d been forever since I’d sat down and read. It’s at least been three weeks. I wanted to investigate solar power and electricity, and wouldn’t you know, our science section in the library had a few books on the subject. Yay for the green initiatives.
On my way back from the library I stopped in at Hall A and harassed the Williams folks. Everyone was in great spirits. The girls were really enjoying the fact that they were getting out and being profoundly useful and important. I even think chuck felt good about it because he fed off their happiness, and he also was home spending some decent time with his son. Long time I think since they had time to relax together. We went over our plan for how we’d deal with the presence of the STIG folks here on campus, and once everyone was on point with the plan, I headed home to Hall E. I spent the remainder of the evening reading the solar power books, and wondering what the hell I was going to do with 8 tins of minced clams.
I woke up this morning super early. I had sexy dreams of unlimited electrical energy, and hot water fueled by the power of the sun. Seriously though, I did. I dreamt about solar energy. That’s what I get after I read through two dry as hell science textbooks. Wasn’t the worst dream I’ve had, that’s for sure. I was up with the sun, which was a little unusual. I usually sleep in til 7 normally, and the sun has been rising around 6:40. Something like that at least. It felt early as hell.
I did a patrol of campus and got my gear set up. My logic for the solar panels wasn’t entirely popular with the Williams clan. They wanted the panels installed on Hall A. I wanted Hall E. They said well there’s more people here, and blah fucking blah.. My logic was that Hall E was larger, and only had heat if it had electricity. Hall A has the wood stove, so if they lose juice, they’re still fine. If I lose juice, I gotta relocate. AND… Hall E’s windows are already boarded up, and the back deck has the steps removed, so in a last ditch situation, we’d come here anyway.
They gave up. I think having the Glock on my hip helped. I can be very persuasive when I’m armed. Heh. Seriously though they were on board with the idea once I explained it. Plus it wasn’t like we couldn’t get more panels installed.
STIG radioed us at 8am saying they were enroute. The plan was they were to arrive at 9:30. If they arrived earlier, they’d radio before pulling up. At 8:45 they radioed, saying the trip to here was almost entirely devoid of trouble, and they were at Jones Road, waiting for our clearance. Abby was going to be outside patrolling campus, and Patty was going to be at the vans with the Tac .22 in case they made a run at the bridge. Gilbert was to stay at his house, and only come down if something were to go wrong.
I told them to roll the truck to the bridge. Once the truck pulled up, I saw Brian and an unknown man in the cab. Brian hopped out and we shook hands. He seemed excited to be here finally. We bullshitted for a bit, mostly about their trip over. He said there were all of maybe five zombies on the way here, which was awesome. They ran over as many as they could (and they had the splat marks on the truck to prove it) and got here in what amounted to almost normal travel time.
As per our agreement, Brian opened the back of the truck for me. He had two more people bundled up in there holding the solar panel boxes still. I recognized both guys as Tim and Tom Murphy. I knew they worked at STIG before everything went down, and man was it nice to see them. Tim and Tom were as Irish as you can get. Skinny, pale as hell, hard drinkers, and they loved to laugh. They reminded me of my buddy Kevin something fierce. They were brothers from my side of town that I knew through some of our other friends. Townies to say the least. I greeted them with a mile wide grin, and knew this day was going to be worth it.
Once I was sure they didn’t have a Trojan Horse to bring on campus, Patty and I moved the vans off the bridge, and let them drive the truck onto campus, and over to Hall E. As we agreed, only two of their men would be armed, and that turned out to be Brian and the other guy in the front, who turned out to be a guy named Darryl. He was a bearded, burly ex-logger that found his way to STIG after “that day” because his wife worked there. He had a police issue 12 gauge and held like he knew how to use it. I was instantly envious of Brian for having so many able people. I was also a little concerned that Brian had so many able and capable people.
Here’s how it went down. The techs were not to enter Hall E until the panels were installed on the roof. I drove the ladder truck over to Hall E and got the thing raised for them. They said it was the easiest roof work they’d ever done. Tim and Tom did these installations for a living, and they worked fast as hell. The panels they were putting in were strictly electricity generators. They could put some in that just heated water, but electricity is far more important than hot water at the moment. They brought their own tools and had the panels installed in three hours. During that time, Brian and Darryl were to hang out with me outside watching to make sure the techs were okay. They wound up running some heavy duty cabling down the side of the house and had to drill a hole in the wall to get it through.
Fortunately, where they had to drill to patch the solar energy into the Hall was near the basement fire door which I’d almost entirely forgotten about. I never use the damn thing. It’s on the side of the Hall where the deck is, and I never go out that way really. So, once they had that panels in, and the cables installed, I let Tim in through that bottom door, and he installed the batteries and paneling and hooked everything fully to the Hall’s power grid. Abby came inside the hall and sat on the stairs to make sure he didn’t try to get upstairs to sneak around. He was inside for about two more hours. By then it was about 3:30, and the sky was getting dark. Clouds were drowning out what little sun we were going to get that day, but Tim showed me the energy being generated on a voltimeter, or voltometer, or whatever it’s called. Point is the needle was moving. He explained how much energy could be use for what, and how much it’d help out the drain on the generator.
After my instruction on how to operate the panels and batteries and circuits, and a whole bunch of shit I don’t recall, he handed me about five manuals, and we walked out. They were packing up to leave, and I got their stuff for them. I had it all in a large Sterilite container that the kids in a dorm room were using as an impromptu hamper. Brian counted everything, and then he handed me the box of .223. I shook everyone’s hands, and thanked them. Once the trade was complete, and they had the stuff in the truck, you could see the tension lift. Just from body language alone Darryl looked so much happier. I’m betting he was completely sold on the idea that this was an ambush and they were walking into a trap.
But it wasn’t. If anything, I’m pretty honest. Mostly.
I’m in business folks. And it went smooth as a ninja shit being pushed down the drain by a toe. Awww yeah boy!
I’m mature, I know. It’s something I struggle with day to day.
When they left Brian and I agreed that we’d talk again on the 31st, and he mentioned that if we came across anything useful or had spare of things, to let them know. He mentioned that 150 mouths are a lot to keep fed, and any spare food would be traded for immediately. I told him I’d keep an eye out for him. I mentioned that my plan is to clear out more and more houses, one by one, and as we came across food and supplies, anything extra I’d be more than happy to share. He said they were waiting for spring to do the same on their side of town. He also mentioned that he had some spare police oriented equipment like Tasers and pepper spray, which definitely got the saliva flowing.
Good to know we’re on the same page on multiple levels. We shook hands again, and they drove their truck across the bridge. Patty and I got the vans back into position, and once Gilbert arrived on campus about 15 minutes later, we knew the coast was clear. Gilbert was our rear guard to make sure they didn’t bum rush the campus. He said that the Police 4x4 stopped exactly at the end of Prospect and sat there, waiting for something to go wrong. He said he saw four people in the cruiser, which makes sense.
Bringing a vehicle loaded with armed folks was against our rules for the meeting, but then again, so was Gilbert’s rear guard action. Now I also left Gilbert out of the equation to make sure that he didn’t talk to Brian again. So far, they haven’t met yet, and I’m trying to keep them apart to increase their tension/disorganization. We’ll see how it pans out. Of course it occurs to me now that Gilbert easily could’ve waltzed down to the end of Prospect and shot the shit with the cops in the cruiser all damn day.
So yeah, little bit of the juice. Nice. Tomorrow we’re going to hit the three houses heading east between Auburn Lake Road and the log cabin. More than likely they’ll be empty, but I’m hopeful we’ll find something. (my guess is the cabin folks cleaned them out already)
We’ll see what happens after that! Hoping for sunny days ahead.