We got home with the help of LPD and the Road Disciples MC. A quick beer, some of the extra armor and a couple of old shields later, they were on the way our the door. Rusty, the talkative one seemed happy enough. I told him if we could get together the metal I could help them build more and better armor. I think: Great. I am making "Knight Riders" come to life. How strange the world is.
The two girls, Tina and Dani were tired and scared. Toni put them through a shower (hot water still, running. I wonder how long that will last?) and fed them and put them to bed. We talked over our next move. I wanted to check on Gunther's wife Kora and his two daughters. I knew he had flown out to Texas for some Army training of some kind and had been gone for a week. Toni convinced me that Kora and the girls would be okay. Gunther keeps enough hardware to equip a light battalion. We can check on them the day after tomorrow. Our real responsibility is to the two girls. We would try to get them back with family. Phones weren't working. Internet was down. Great.
Next morning we took just the Truck. All five of us loaded in. I had Toni drive, as my armor makes it almost impossible. Shotgun, Rifle, and 9mm pistol. I carried sword and board, shotgun over my shoulder. Toni would use the Mosin and carried an axe. Tina was the smaller girl, so I gave her the 9mm and my other schlager style sword. Dani was not exactly huge, but since we were out of guns I gave her the boar spear. I needed more guns... and some real bolts for my crossbow. Crap. Can anything please be easy?
Two and a half hours of insane driving later we arrived at Tina and Dani's subdivision. In regular times, should have been forty minutes driving, tops. We had to back up, go around, and in one case push through all kinds of craziness. Zeds were everywhere, but there were plenty of signs of live people too. You saw cars driving. Houses and buildings were boarded up. One guy on a ten speed was zipping along, through any zeds before they could react to him. They gave up pretty quick. I hope he did okay.
There is a tow truck hooked to a car blocking the street for the girl's subdivision. We hop out, and that is when the trouble started. A group of zeds, one still wearing the tow truck drivers uniform shirt, comes around from the truck's back. I don't want to start blazing away with the shotgun. It is loud! The ladies go to work and put a couple down, and Dexter and I step in and get the other two. Not so bad, I think....
Famous last words, almost. I hear a lot of shuffling and groaning coming from the part of the subdivision we are headed to. My high school English teacher called this foreshadowing. Another group of zeds has obviously responded to the shots and heads our way from further down the street. I realize we need to MOVE if we are going to get to the girls home.
Heading up the street we see the house on the corner has a fire that burned part of it but went out. Why so many fires, I think? The zeds aren't running around with lighters...
Out of the back door of the burned house stumble a pair of zeds. I step up, confident in Dexter's help. He declines to move forward. What the heck? I have no time to think, as the zeds both attack me! The ladies are busy shooting the larger group of zeds that we saw moving at us. I fought and killed the first one, but was thankful for the armor when the second one bit me hard on the vambrace. Thank god for that. After a further brief struggle, I put him down. That louder shuffling was getting closer. The ladies were anything but ladylike as the cursing was coming from them in steady stream. The rifle and pistol were firing away, but the zeds seemed to be little affected.
I yelled to the new girls "Aim for the head!" and turned to Dexter. He seemed very afraid. Must have been the fire that spooked him. I soothed him, and he seemed reassured. Good.
The ladies finished off the last of the smaller group from down the street. Dexter and I step into the burnt house to look around. There is a guy in there, breathing heavy. He has a knapsack and a rifle. He is standing over the corpse of woman. She is naked. She also seems much less bloody than the other corpses that have been running around.
"Hey there" I say to him, taking in the scene. Last words we ever spoke. He starts bringing the rifle up to shoot me, but pulls the trigger too quickly. I drop the sword and shield, grabbing my shotgun. So much for keeping somewhat quiet. I miss the first time, the shot booming into the afternoon and raising a flock of crows from nearby. Fortunately it is a pump model, and I don't worry about conserving shells. The difference between killing a zed and this guy? He screamed for a while. What a sick guy! That female corpse was strangled....
I step back outside to disaster. Dani is laying on the ground, Tina and Toni desperately backing away from her as, if from nowhere, about 8 zeds pour out of the house behind us and onto her. Tina is useless, screaming and crying. While the zeds are busy eating, I jump in and start swinging. Dexter comes as well, and Toni adds her rifle to the fight. Before they realize what happened, we finish them off. Toni comforts Tina, but to little avail.
She looks at the house, and the knapsack I am carrying. I shake my head. No need for the girls to see *that*. I walk in quickly and grab the thirty ought six rifle, and rummage through his clothes. Nothing. The knapsack has a couple of bottles of high end scotch, three boxes of ammo for the deer rifle and about 30 boxes of Kraft mac and cheese.
I hand the rifle to the still sobbing Tina, noting the broken scope as I do. No amount of comforting is helping her get it together immediately. We need to get her to her off the street and now. We head for the house next door, hoping to go in the back door.
Around the corner comes what seems to be a hundred zeds. Tina completely loses it, and in her screams I can make out one word. Mom. Fan fucking tastic. This couldn't much worse I think, but refuse to tempt Loki by voicing it aloud. I fire the shotgun dry, and Toni is banging away. It helps but god, where there a ton of them. I wade in, Dexter with me this time, and Toni continues to bang away where she can. It is all I can do to stay upright, and I am thankful for the years of shieldwall bashing. I bring my sword down over and over, my shield being yanked and pulled. Dexter goes after one and another from the edges, but I am in the middle, fighting for all I am worth. Suddenly, there just are no more. I stumble back for a second. Toni checks quickly around. Down the street, a few have come out of houses and head for us, but they are a ways off.
Toni smiles and tosses me a water bottle. "Looks like you could use this!" I drink about half in one go. I pour the rest down my face and savor the cooling effect. Armor in July... warm indeed.
We open the backdoor of the house. It is empty. Tina has quieted. "They are dead. Mark and Lisa lived here. They are in the backyard with Mom. Everyone is dead." She is still useless, but more coherent. I will take the little victories. We quickly go over this house, Toni spotting some canned vegetables and bottled water. Dexter, always on the lookout for a handout, scratches at a closet door. Inside is a bag of dog food. I pour him a bowl from the open container, scanning the street. Only two zeds, and they are headed for the back door.
I gather everyone and head for the front door. We move quickly to Tina's home, but the door is broken off the hinges. I can hear her whimpering behind me. No good will come of this, I think. But she has to know. If we just run now, she will wonder about her father.
As we go through the front door, 4 zeds come from the living room. Tina goes from whimper back to full sob. I am guessing one of these her Dad. Poor kid. Dexter accounts for one, I hammer two, and Toni decides to axe one. "Tina, grab some clothes and whatever keepsakes you want. Does you family have any guns?" She shakes her head, and Toni and she go into her room to pack. The trailing Zeds have made it to the front yard, but there seem to be no others. Taking a chance, I head out with Dexter to finish them off quickly.
A couple of minutes later Toni and Tina come out the front door lugging a suitcase, a jewelry box, and dragging a cooler. With the knapsack and other food, it is too much. I hunt around the garage for a second and spot a wheelbarrow. We pile in lots of stuff and head back the way we came, quiet. As we load the stuff in the bed, Dexter is nuzzling Tina. She seems to be responding to it. I hope it will be okay.