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Link Posted: 10/22/2010 1:22:41 PM EDT
Thanks for the excellent update!
Link Posted: 10/22/2010 5:43:49 PM EDT
hell yeah
Link Posted: 10/23/2010 10:54:41 AM EDT
great update. is it next Friday yet????????????
Link Posted: 10/23/2010 6:40:07 PM EDT
Goddamn I am hooked
Link Posted: 10/23/2010 9:04:38 PM EDT
Kick fucking ass chapter!! Great story!
Link Posted: 10/24/2010 12:55:35 PM EDT
WOW!!!!!! Outstanding Story!! Keep up the great work!!

AKASL

LIVE ZOMBIE FREE OR DIE
Link Posted: 10/25/2010 8:05:54 AM EDT
awesome update, keep them coming please................
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 2:12:09 PM EDT
This story is a lot of fun, thanks for sharing! And keep it coming.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 4:36:17 PM EDT
I likes...
you do realize that Now i might have to try my hand at writing...
Link Posted: 10/29/2010 5:37:51 AM EDT
Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it. Chapter 10 ended up being the biggest yet and is being looked over for errors now. I will have it up Friday before my shift in the afternoon.
Link Posted: 10/29/2010 10:28:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/29/2010 9:06:49 PM EDT by LOMartin]
Originally Posted By JPD158:
Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it. Chapter 10 ended up being the biggest yet and is being looked over for errors now. I will have it up Friday before my shift in the afternoon.


This is part of my Friday routine to come check on this thread.

Yup is friday, I'm waiting. . . . . . . . .








Thanks for putting in the time to get chapters out so fast.
Link Posted: 10/29/2010 2:10:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/8/2010 4:33:47 AM EDT by JPD158]
Chapter Ten: Lone Wolves
*********

The impact slammed Matvei hard, nearly knocking him unconscious. The Huey had come down hard on its left side and as Matvei tried to clear his head he could see that the pilot was dead, his body forever pinned between his seat and the ground. The helicopter was badly damaged from the crash and the radio that Matvei had been using was smashed and no longer operable. Dust still filled the cockpit and was choking Matvei as he tried to breathe. It also stung his eyes making it temporarily difficult to see. Hearing cries from the back, Matvei knows that someone else was still alive. Struggling to get his seatbelt off Matvei falls into the main cabin and finds that the two men sitting on the left side of the helicopter were also dead. The other two were alive but one of them had a broken leg, his shattered femur sticking through his flesh. The other seemed stunned just as Matvei himself but otherwise uninjured. Matvei didn’t know their names and didn’t really care. As Matvei struggled with the uninjured man to get the wounded guy out of the helicopter, an ominous sound soon rose above the injured man's screams.
“We have company.” Matvei stated.

Dropping the injured man, Matvei pulls his USP .45 and fired at a Zombie who’s head appeared in the open doorway. As the Zombie fell from a .45 slug to the forehead, another took his place and Matvei had soon emptied his magazine into at least three separate infected and reached for another. Reloading, Matvei wondered how the Zombies had gotten there so quickly. The golf course was well North of the city. Matvei figured the Zombies must be on the move, perhaps chasing the remnants of his command as they fled North. The other uninjured man was now firing a handgun as well and finally no more grotesque heads appeared in the doorway. Clearing his thoughts Matvei finally crawls back into the cockpit of the helicopter and retrieved his H&K G36 rifle from the floor. Examining it, it appeared undamaged by the crash. Once again impressed by the ruggedness of his H&K weapons, he crawls to the back of the chopper and retrieves a backpack that he always carries with him. Pulling it from the chopper he throws it onto the ground and lifts himself out of the cabin and onto the ground. The other man is already out himself and is firing an AK-74 at several more Zombies that were drawn to the crash. Matvei can see that they went down in the middle of the golf course, on the green of the 13’th hole to be exact. Yet even here the Zombies managed to be on them almost immediately.

As Matvei is opening his bag to retrieve a fresh 30 round magazine for his rifle, a Zombie jumps from behind the downed chopper and is upon the man firing the Ak-74 before either he or Matvei can react. The Zombie sinks his teeth into the mans neck and draws a mouthful of flesh before being shot in the back of the head by Matvei. The 5.56mm AP round also shoots the Zombie's victim in the head as well and both fall limp to the ground. A quick double tap assures the kill.
Clearing the rest of the ground around the chopper, Matvei finds no other immediate threats and from the shambling hoard approaching, judges that he has a few minutes before becoming in danger of being surrounded.
Matvei climbs back into the cabin and looks around the cabin for anything else useful that may be inside. He has to crawl over the injured man to reach an ammo can containing extra magazines for his G36 and USP .45. As he grabs the can as well as a camelback full of water the man, now silent in shock, asks Matvei for help.
“I’m sorry” Matvei replies. “The infected are almost here, your leg is broken and you will be unable to move, there is nothing I can do for you.”

Matvei takes a Glock 9mm pistol that is laying on the ground and drops the magazine and hands it to the man. Clearing the weapon, Matvei climbs out of the chopper and turns, tossing it to the doomed mercenary.
“You are on your own…” Matvei states flatly and disappears from sight before finishing his sentence, “…and so am I.”
Grabbing his bag, Matvei throws in the extra magazines from the can, slings it onto his back and picks up his rifle. Some of the faster Zombies are closing in and he begins to head North, using jacketed lead to clear a path through the infected. Before leaving the golf course, Matvei hears a single shot from the crash sight.

*********

Down by Peoria Illinois in a remote cabin everyone was going about their work. The small group led by Dan’s brother Dave and Tom Ogle, along with a few relatives, was busy canning food and chopping wood for what was looking to be a long winter. Finishing a batch of canned green beans, Tom’s wife came up to him and told him she was going to go for a walk down to the pond towards the back of the property to try and unwind. She never did like to camp out at the cabin, and now being stuck here 24/7 she had been getting a little testy as of late. Tom told her to give him a few minutes and he would go with.
She replied "No don’t be so over protective, I will be fine."
“Well u better take a gun with you just in case." Tom replied.
“You know I don’t like those things.” she responded, continuing. “We haven’t seen any of those monsters for a long time, and I will be fine."
Tom Ogle tried to convince his wife otherwise but she just got pissed at him turned around and headed off through the woods. The others, tired of her constant bitching, never even noticed she left.

She took her time walking through the woods. It was a beautiful day and some of the trees still had leaves on them. It was getting cooler and she stopped often to watch birds and take a swig from the bottle of Vodka she kept hidden under her coat. She had to drink just to keep her sanity while completing one mundane chore after another. After about half an hour she reached the back pond on the property where they would go to catch fish and hunt. It was a beautiful place surrounded by large Oak trees, where she could sit and drink and feel sorry for herself in private. As she sat drinking in the lawn chair that she left out near the pond, she saw a little girl approaching through the clearing. She recognized the girl as Alice, who belonged to the neighboring family who had a farm just down the road.
She thought, ‘What is she doing out here by herself? She must be so scared, I wonder if she is alone? Her family must be out here looking for her.'
As she got up and began calling to the girl, sure enough, Alice’s family appeared from the woods as well, walking in her direction.

Tom’s now slightly drunk wife walked up to the little girl while calling to her family that Alice was over here. Something just seemed a little off to her as the girls family didn’t reply and just kept walking her direction, or more liked stumbled. Suddenly she could see others approaching in the woods as well and in a horror realized that she was alone in the woods with several dozen infected. She had momentarily forgotten about the little girl and looked down just in time so see Alice grab onto her shirt, and it was obvious from the large hunk of flesh missing from her face, she was infected as well. The little girl tried to bite her on the arm but she was able to push Alice away and she started to run, screaming for help. As she ran through the woods back towards the cabin, the Vodka she had been drinking wasn’t helping her progress. As she turned around to look at the Zombies heading her direction she didn’t notice the hole in the ground that her foot fit tightly into. It didn’t come out as easy and as she fell to the ground she heard a loud crack come from her ankle, the pain was enough to make her scream again.

As the Zombies started to get closer and closer she tried to walk, or hop on the damaged ankle. She was heading straight for the cabin and without even realizing it, was bringing the group of Zombies with her. As the Zombies slowly caught up to her she turned and screamed, trying to fight them off, kicking one Zombie in the head while lashing out at another with a tree branch. One of them got in from the side and gave her a bite that would soon change her, for the worse. Breaking free and knocking the Zombie free from her leg, she used the sudden adrenalin boost to make one last dash for the cabin. It was close, and although they had been working to clear the area around it for a kill zone, it was only open maybe 30 or so yards around the cabin, and they had been counting on its remote location for safety.

Tom Ogle was sitting in the cabin cutting up some venison to make into jerky when he heard the scream in the woods. Grabbing his AR-15 he heard the crashing in the woods as suddenly his wife burst into the open, hobbling up to the cabin on what looked to be a broken ankle.
“There are people chasing me!” is all she screamed as she ran past him into the door.
Tom turned back to the woods as the first of many Zombie’s appeared out of the woods, and he raised his rifle to fire. Something standing back at the front door caught his attention and he turned back to see his wife attacking Dave in the kitchen of the cabin. Rifle fire echoed from the other side of the cabin as well, but Tom realized it was already to late. He emptied his Magazine into the approaching hoard, only getting a few head shots, and quickly reloaded with a magazine he kept in a pouch on the butt stock. All he could think of was that he needed to get inside the cabin and find his kids, he needed to be with them. Around the cabin the gunfire died down and was replaced by screams of terror. As Tom reached the back bedroom he found his kids hiding in a small closet. He braced the bedroom door as the Zombies now flooded into the cabin. The sound of breaking glass and more screams filled his ears as Zombies broke through the bedroom window.

********

October 27, 2011
Day 31

An almost comfortable routine has been in place for the last several days and everyone has been attacking the list of chores with a sense of urgency. Many additional supplies have been put away and a new batch of survivors has just been cleared from the observation cells to join the general population. That brings our total population to one hundred and fifty eight as of today. Today's raids had been equally successful and we had once again not lost anyone. I felt the need to ride the guy's asses on the missions because I know the more routine it becomes, the more complacent everyone will get. And that will get people killed. One recent raid a couple days ago to a local farm proved successful and tonight we had been treated to an old fashioned pig roast. The farmer had survived the onslaught of the Undead to this point and agreed to come back to the safety of the prison with us. One large storage building had been converted into a barn of sorts and we now had a few cows, pigs and chickens along with piles of hay and feed. The Farmer had the idea of maybe even doing some combining of corn to use as food for us and the animals. Pondering such a mission while cleaning my rifle around a large fire pit that Stephen set up complete with benches, I get a chance to visit with people as they pause for a moment to warm up. It's not too cool today, maybe around 45 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit but the fire is cozy and Stephen was right, it had a cozy effect and quickly became a place of congregation along with the church which was now cleaned out and was doubling as our community room. Stephen also insisted that the fire always stay lit, mentioning some mumbo jumbo about it being a symbolic gesture of keeping the light and fire of humanity going.

As I was looking around the prison at the groups running errands not unlike an ant farm, I spot Dan heading up to the second floor of the command tower. He was probably going to make contact with his brother Dave and his Sgt. from work Tom Ogle. They were making contact with each other every couple days now, just to check in and see what has been going on in the different locations. Dave and Tom were always eager to hear Dan's stories about what we were going through. The stories from the hunting cabin down by Peoria were never as exciting. They had several groups of Z's that they had to deal with but never to the level that we were experiencing. They had managed to help a small family as well.

As Dan climbed up the stairs in the command tower he ran into Chris, who was walking down with a list of "needs" given to him by a secretary, that needed to be made a priority on today's raids. At the top of the list was toilet paper, which up to now had been overlooked. It is one of those things that you take for granted until you are out and your ass starts to hurt. The small TP fort that Stephen had kept in his basement was now long used up. "Are you going to get on the HAM radio?" Chris asked in passing.
"No I am going to get on the satellite television and watch some porn" was Dan’s reply.
Chris just punched him in the arm and told him "Shut the fuck up smartass."
Dan had a grin on his face, almost a smile, but didn’t let Chris see it. Dan didn’t want anyone to know he was starting to look at everyone as family, and he knew deep down that he would eventually probably watch a lot of them die and eventually he would meet his maker as well. He thought by hiding his emotions that he and they wouldn’t be as hurt when it happened.
Chris asked "Do you mind if I listen to your radio communications?”
"Suit yourself" was all Dan said.

As Dan sat down at the base station of radios he had set up and prepared them for use, Chris ran the list down to the command post's conference room and returned back upstairs with an ammo can containing Federal 55grain FMJ .223 they had gotten from Stephens stash, and started filling some aluminum GI mags that he had taken apart and cleaned earlier. Dan began calling out his call sign waiting for a response on the preset channel that he used for talking to his brother outside of Peoria. After trying for about 30 minutes he told Chris "looks like the assholes fell asleep early tonight" and he got up.
After writing down some instructions to the guys manning the radios tonight, he headed down the stairs. Chris waited a minute and then went down to see what Dan was going to do. He knew that Dan was uneasy about what had just happened, they had never missed a meeting with Dan and he could tell it wasn’t sitting well with him. Chris and Dan had been spending a lot of time together, no one went anywhere by themselves, especially out of the prison walls. Chris finally caught up with Dan in the large camper that they shared and noticed that he had his BOB out and was checking its contents along with several other bags. He was packing ammo, food and other items that he didn’t normally take with him on a supply run. Personal items, his water filter, and extra clothes were some of the other items. Chris had spent enough time in the army to know Dan was packing for an extended patrol to say the least.
"What are you doing Dan?" Chris asked.
"Nothing kid." was the only response Dan gave.
"You can’t fool me, what’s going on?"
"Don’t get involved." Dan said.
"Fine I will go get Mike and Stephen and let them figure it out." Chris said, as he started to walk away.
"STOP, or I will ruin your day" Dan said.
"Then tell me what you are planning!" Chris shot back.
"Fine but don't say anything to them." Dan asked. "The last time I tried to go somewhere like this they nearly broke my ribs. I am going to Ogle’s hunting cabin to check on him and my brother Dave."
Chris's reply was short and sweet, "Not by yourself" and with that Chris started packing his BOB and grabbing his gear as well.
"Hey kid, I am not letting you go with." Dan continued. "I might not make it back and that is not a situation I am going to let you get into. I have to do this on my own."
They were both almost yelling at this point, just as Mike and Stephen were walking by to put their cleaned rifles away for the night in their respective RV's that made up the little wagon train circle they had created. It helped that Dan and Chris's Camper was the one closest to the entrance constructed in the razor wire. They both heard it clearly when Chris said "I am not letting you go alone so you are either taking me or we are both staying here."

Just then Stephen and I opened the door to the trailer and I said "Where are you two going?"
Dan quickly responded "Nowhere!"
The small room was quiet for what seemed like hours and you could feel the tension building when Stephen finally said "Ok, everyone take a breath. Chris where are you guys going?"
Chris looked at Dan who was gripping his AR with a look it his eyes that Chris wasn’t sure of. He didn’t think Dan was really crazy but some of the things he had seen him do, was enough to make him wonder. Chris simply said "We are going on a long supply run" and turned to finish packing. Stephen asked “When did we start planning supply runs on our own and not as a group?"
Dan replied "This supply run is personal and I am going by myself!"
Chris didn’t give anyone a chance to reply because as soon as Dan finished he said "The fuck you are!"
That is when I had had enough, "No one is going anywhere until someone tells me what the hell is going on, and I don’t what any more pussy footing around. How about a straight answer?"
Mattie was walking by the trailer when she heard the last few comments and decided that this wasn’t a conversation she wanted to get into but she did quietly stand in the open door of the camper to listen. Of course Dan noticed her walk by; he never seemed to miss that, who did? I could feel the red coming up into my face and everyone else could see it and that is when Chris said to Dan "You might as well tell them before Mike blows a gasket." Dan was obviously not happy about everyone knowing his plan, he was hoping to slip out when no one was watching and put the hammer down. Dan said "I am going to check on my brother and Ogle"

"Ok, that's fine with me, It's still a free country." I responded and turned to walk out.
"Wait a minute!" Stephen added. "You are going to just leave it at that?"
"Do you think you can stop him?" Mike responded. "Remember what he said after Phil's group got taken over. If he is determined to go, we can’t stop him."
"Ok, that's fine, but everyone just slow it down. Stephen replied. "We are going to take this a little slower. If Dan is going to check on his brother and Ogle then we need to plan some stuff out."
Dan simply said “I don’t have time" and picked up some of his bags and started walking out of the trailer.
I knew Dan’s stubbornness was starting to get under Stephens skin but was still surprised when Stephen blocked Dan from leaving the doorway.
It was enough to get Dan to stop and say. "What the hell was that, are you trying to give a person invitation to all the Z's in the county?"
"I am sick of you being so stubborn!" Stephen replied, almost yelling again. "I understand why you want to go check on them, but to just run off by yourself is just stupid. We haven’t lived this long because of us doing stupid things. We have made it because we use our heads and plan everything out. There is no reason we can’t make this mission successful."
Dan wasn’t sure how to respond. He knew Stephen was right but he didn’t want to risk anyone’s life in something he knew he had to do.
Stephen continued. “Ok this is what we are going to do. Chris and Dan go find a vehicle to make the trip in, something badass. Mattie we know you are listening out there so go find the maps of LaSalle County and the other counties down to Peoria so we can plan a route. Mike and I will help the guys dig through the prisons maintenance shop and look for stuff to help beef up your ride when you return with it tonight. We will meet in the maintenance shop in a couple hours and will put a plan together so that it is a mission General Patton would be proud of. Oh and one more thing Dan, you are taking someone with you and that is not up for debate."
"And that would be me, no negotiating on that either." was all Chris said. Everyone headed to do their jobs it was now a mission that involved us all, the way it should be.

Chris and Dan left the prison to look for a vehicle to take on their trip. It was dark but they did not have to wander far to have a vast selection to choose from. Vehicles filled the roads like a giant parking lot, cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles; you name it they were everywhere. Dan saw a beautiful corvette and asked Chris if he thought it would work. The look Dan got was enough to let him know the answer. Chris found a nice Chevy 1500, leather seats, built-in DVD player you name it this truck had it, a real pimp machine. Nearly brand new it had only 1132 miles on the odometer. The previous owner ran it into someone’s yard and left the keys in the ignition. The only downside being it was on two flat tires, but that could be easily fixed. Dan told him he couldn’t afford the insurance so they continued looking both laughing out loud.
"Fuck" was all Dan heard before Chris's rifle started pumping out rounds just behind and to Dan’s right. Dan spun around to see a group of about 20-30 Zombies, closing to within 50 yards of their position. They came out from around the several buildings lining the street almost simultaneously.
“Damn it!” was all Dan could say to himself, thinking; ‘This is why you don’t start to have a good time, I can’t believe I let my guard down that much. This area gets cleared out a lot, but still...’

Fortunately it didn’t take them long to take care of the problem. The Zombies were not organized at all and just made a straight line for the pair, offering themselves as easy targets. They were both seating their second magazine in their AR-15’s when Dan switched to take care of a few of the closer ones with the new machete he found during one of the supply runs. Dan had spent a whole day putting an edge on that machete and it would cut through anything. Dan finished a few off with that and Chris took care of the rest with his EoTech and x3 magnifier, then did a tactical reload when the last of the Z's went down.
"I can’t believe we let them get that close, we almost screwed up big time!" Chris said.
Dan replied "I saw them coming, was just waiting to see how long it was going to take you."
“Fuck off !” was Chris's standard response to Dan's stupid remarks.

They didn’t have to say anything else to each other, they knew they needed to get out of there with all the noise they just made, so they started heading back to the prison double time. As they were heading back, taking a different route then the one they came in on, they both stopped in their tracks and looked as if they had just saw a sign from God. And maybe it was. There it sat in the employee parking lot of a small auto repair shop. It was a green 2005 Ford F350 Super Duty four door pickup. As they walked up to it they couldn’t believe that someone had made this truck just for them. Besides everything being in mint condition it had a extra diesel fuel tank in the back with a tool box, lift kit, heavy tread tires, winch kit on the front and a raccoon tail hanging from the rearview mirror. Chris walked over and grabbed the door handle and gave it a lift and the door opened up. Inside it was in great shape, whoever the owner was he loved his truck. It had a CB in there, gauges that told you everything about the engine, and a stack of playboy magazines in the back. If the owner was standing there they would have given him a hug as they were stealing his truck. Dan told Chris to pop the hood, and after opening it they both stood there and stared at all of the work and aftermarket accessories that must have went into the engine. Chris jumped in the truck and asked Dan if he knew how to hot-wire a truck. Dan reached up and pulled down the visor and the keys fell into Chris's lap.
‘How does he do that shit?’ was all Chris could think.
"Take us home Son!" Dan said, and Chris fired up that big diesel and they were off. When they pulled up to the prison gate and honked the horn, Casper opened the gate and was greeted by Waylon Jennings singing the theme from the Dukes of Hazard. Mike, Stephen Mattie and a few others just stood there shaking their heads as Chris and Dan pulled in.

After pulling the truck into the maintenance shop everybody got busy. The guys in the shop started beefing up the new ride. I used to weld for a living and was able to fabricate a steel ram for the front of the truck. While I did that, our chief mechanic welded some heaving metal grating on the windows and everyone else gave the truck a good overall check-up, changing the oil and checking the fluids. They couldn’t believe how well it had been maintained and gave it thumbs up, good-to-go. Stephen helped Dan equip it with one of the 2 meter and 10 meter radios they had and added 2 extra batteries for the new electronics. In the back of the truck they mounted two heavy boxes to store gear and two extra tires with rims. The guys in the shop went over every problem they could think of and added the tools and parts available to get us out of any jam. They even found two extra serpentine belts that fit that engine. Several cans of fix-a-flat and an assortment of other parts completed the set-up. As the guys in the shop stood back and looked at what they had created, they all hoped it would perform as good as it looked, it was definitely bad-ass. One other item that was hooked up to the truck was a small U-haul trailer. It was loaded with some extra food, clothing, medical supplies, and other odds and ends that we thought Dave and Tom might need in Peoria. Chris and Dan finished getting together their gear and loaded up the truck. The best thing the truck had, according to Dan, was the gun rack in the back window. He made sure Betty had her spot in the gun rack.

It was now late into the night. As the guys in the shop were busy working on the truck, Mike and Mattie were going over the maps and picking out a good route down to Peoria. The trip form Joliet to Peoria could have been made in about three hours before the Z’s started showing up. The trip down there now was setup to take about 2 days. They would be taking smaller two lane roads the whole way, and as many gravel roads as possible. In talking to the different groups on the Ham radios and from what they had observed it was determined that the Zombies were most heavily concentrated on the highways and populated areas. Even though it was going to take longer everyone was in agreement that this was the best plan.
The route would be down Highway 52 out of Joliet to route 170 west of Lisbon. South from there through Seneca to Highway 17 West and then 89 South near Varna IL. From there it would be back roads into Tom’s property North of Peoria and just West of the Illinois River. Dan and Chris would leave about 10:00 in the morning and drive about three quarters of the way there. They would stop for the night, somewhere safe, and then finish the trip the next day. That way they would roll into the hunting cabin during the day so that it wouldn’t be a surprise to Dave and Tom. Showing up during the day would also give them better visibility. With everything completed and us all completely spent, we called it a night around 0400 hours and I was sleeping in a minute or two.

********

Jonas made himself busy in the maintenanceshop, pretending to help outfit the truck. Overhearing Mike and Mattie go over Dan and Chris’s route he made a mental note of it and the time of their departure. He now had an established routine of delivering a message to Kettle’s men tasked with shadowing Mattie and the others via a written message that he would get out by leaving it under a rock in the timber just to the West of the prison. Kettle’s men had established a small camp at the location but were not always there. This was a urgent and developing news that needed to get out in time in order for the Men to react. Jonas slipped away and penned the note. Now he only needed to find a way to get out the gate past that Logan guy who took security way to serious. In a stroke of luck Jonas found that at this late hour Logan had gone to bed and left the gate to the perimeter guards. Jonas came up with a bull shit story of needing to slip out of the walls to try and catch a cat that a little girl had lost, stating that he just heard over the wall a few moments ago. The guard stated that it was his life to risk over a cat and let him out. A few minutes later Jonas returned stating that he couldn’t find the cat and walked back to his small camper with a satisfied grin on his face.

********

The next morning as Dan and Chris finished loading everything no one was eager to say goodbye. It was quick pats on the backs and hand shacks. Dan did give out one long hug to Mattie, but that didn’t surprise anyone. As Dan and Chris jumped in the truck Chris hit the horn and Dan yelled out the window. “So long suckers!” Casper opened the gate as the few Zombies that had wondered close were taken out by Logan and Kleaner with their Bushmaster ACR’s. A large raid deep into the south end was being planned for the same day and they would be traveling south out of town with the convoy.

After the escorts turned off to their target area for the day, Dan and Chris were quiet, listening to the rest of the Waylon Jennings greatest hits CD. As they were getting out to the edges of town they heard several gun shots ring out at the same time. Chris almost lost control of the truck as the two tires on the U-haul exploded and the ass end of the truck started sliding into the ditch. Luckily they had the truck in 4-wheel drive because they were traveling at such slow speeds. As Dan grabbed his AR and started sending rounds in the direction of the gun shots he told Chris to gun it and Chris put the hammer down. Sparks were flying off from under the U-haul but that beautiful diesel engine had no problem dragging the trailer down the road. The sound of the turbo screaming and the bark of Dan’s rifle sounded awesome. After going down the road about a mile they came to a little hill in the road. Dan told Chris to stop just over the hill and he jumped out with Betty, the .375 H&H in his hands.
Dan yelled to Chris. “Get that fucking trailer unhooked and throw as much shit as you can in the back of the truck.”
Dan ran to the top of the hill and went prone and looked through Betty’s scope. As he scanned the area that they had gone through he couldn’t see anybody. He was wishing he would see a sign of someone, a target if you will, a reason to send one of Betty’s beautiful copper bullets screaming through the air.
It wasn’t long before Chris yelled back to Dan “Hey let’s move before they start shooting at us again.” As Dan walked back to the truck he noticed that there was a hole just behind the rear passenger tire. Dan said something to Chris and he said he had a hole just in front of his rear tire as well.
“If those two rounds had hit their target I am not sure we would still be breathing” Dan said.
Chris responded “That was a well laid out ambush, someone just tried to kill us and it wasn’t no Zombie” “Let’s get rolling” Dan said and with that they were on the road again. Dan jumped on the 2 meter radio and made contact with the prison. He gave the information to Eddie’s son Tyler who was manning the radios and told him to get it to Mike and Stephen ASAP. The message delivered, Dan spent the next 2 hours making sure that they were not being followed, and after fifty or sixty miles was confident that they were not.

One of the pre-approved stops on the trip was to a silica sand mining pit that was along the way. Dan had told everyone that he knew a guy that worked there and he wanted to stop and see if he could pick up something very useful. As they rolled into the mining pits they ran across a few Zombies that Chris took care of with the steel ram on the front of the truck. As they drove around the pits Dan knew what he was looking for. It would be a shack out by itself with a lot of warning signs on it. As they came around a corner it stood out like a sore thumb. It was painted red and had a lot of warning signs on it. High Explosives. The grin on both Dan’s and Chris’s faces was uncontrollable. Chris looked at Dan and said. “I love you man”
Dan just replied. “I know.”
As they pulled the door off the small building they were very happy with their find. Cases of ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate Fuel OIL ) mining explosives were stacked up in the building.
Dan said to Chris. “We don’t have enough room.”
“What a problem to have” was Chris’ response. They emptied one of the heavy plastic containers of supplies on the truck and filled it up with the ANFO. In its unmixed form the ingredients were stable and safe for transport. The stuff that wouldn’t fit on the truck was moved to a large sand pile and hidden in the sand for later pickup if possible. They also found another building labeled the same way that was a little smaller yet, which housed the blasting caps and other pieces of equipment to make everything work. It was secured with a lock that Dan made easy work of with a set of bolt cutters.
“I wish we still had that U-haul trailer with us.” Chris said. “We would have no problem taking all of this with us, as well as anything else useful we find along the way.”
“Wish in one hand, shit in the other.” Dan said.

As they were getting back out on the road they were both feeling pretty good. They had lived through the ambush that some asshole laid out for them and they found a great score for the group. Hopefully they would be able to get it back to the group; it would be a huge force multiplier. As they were traveling down a small gravel road in the middle of nowhere Illinois the sun was starting to creep towards the horizon. This time of year the days were getting shorter and shorter.
“We better start looking for somewhere to crash for the night” Dan said. “No problem I see a hill coming up that would give us a commanding view of the area.” Chris replied.
As he pulled up to the top of the hill both men jumped out with their binoculars and spent about 30 minutes looking in all directions. Seeing nothing but empty fields and a few trees and farm houses, they find an old abandoned farm house with a barn complete with a loft, that would get them safely off the ground. They decided it would be a good place to spend the night, and after searching the area and finding nothing of value, they settled in the loft, trying to get comfortable as the sun was sinking behind the horizon. They were eating some MRE’s and drinking out of some milk jugs that they filled with water. It wasn’t the best meal they have had lately but it filled the void. They had decided against a fire for security reasons and the fact that Zombies seemed to have a fantastic sense of smell.

After the sun had disappeared for a couple hours Dan asked Chris if he was asleep.
“No not yet, and I can’t figure out what that glow is to the South of us.” Chris replied.
“I was looking at that also.” Dan mentioned. “It is in the direction of Pontiac or Bloomington, can’t tell which. But it is defiantly burning down!”
“That’s for sure.” Chris noted. “We have been lucky not to have more fires in Joliet so far.”
“Hey take a look at that farm house way over there” Dan said as he was pointing to the south west. “Why would they have a light on with nothing covering the windows? It stands out big time.”
Chris replied. “Well in the morning we will go over there and make contact with them and let them know the dangers of that and anything else we see. Lets try and get some sleep, we got a big day coming up.”
Finally both dosed off to sleep, neither one slept real good as they both kept waking up thinking they would be surrounded a thousand Zombie's in the barn yard when they woke up.

********

Stephen sits alone on top of the wall facing West from the prison. Drinking a Coors Light he watches the several approaching Zombies shamble towards the prison with no real plan other than to stand at the wall and try climbing it to no avail before eventually being shot. Yet it is an endless, steady stream and Stephen wonders what the end result will be. Yet he has made up his mind. After talking to Eddie and learning of the vast number of refugees that had descended on his families' home in Wisconsin, and then Dan leaving this morning to check on his brother, Stephen knows he needs to go check on his own family. It is roughly 250 miles to his families property as well as his shooting range, but he figures he can cover it round trip in two or three days. If they are ok he can leave them in the safety of the countryside or bring them back to the prison if necessary.

Stephen had acquired an interesting mode of transportation. A side trip that day to the Railroad yard he fought his way through at the start of the outbreak yielded a Chevrolet 2500 truck called a high-railer. Basically a truck with a chassis for driving on the railroad tracks. He would be able to follow rail lines all the way to Wisconsin. A simple pull of a lever would allow him to disengage the chassis and drive, using the trucks regular wheels, around any obstacles on the tracks. Stephen has had a brush guard bolted to the front as well as a rear ram fabricated that slips into the Reese hitch. Stephen makes a mental note to have a set made for his Colorado as well and drop it off along the way. He also took several cans of spray paint and camouflaged the truck so it would not stand out as much. The truck had a 75 gallon Transfer Flow cross-the-bed fuel tank system that would give him plenty of range to make the trip. Stephen made sure it was topped off as well as add a week's worth of food and water in the bed along with camping gear. There were no extra 2 meter HAM radios left and Stephen didn't bother with the hand held FT-60R so would have to do without. His Bushmaster carbine as well as his 20” DPMS with the ACOG will make the trip, along with his Beretta M9 in a thigh holster. He has finally decided he would leave in the morning, and climbing off the wall, he finds Mike and Mattie sitting around the campfire.

Stephen walks up to Mike telling Mattie how badly he is in need of a neck massage and he quickly changes the subject to his leaving, as well and the security concerns over the attempted ambush of Dan and Chris that morning. Stephen and Mike agree that bandits are going to be a problem, but with him leaving via a different route and on rail road tracks and not the road, that he should not have a problem in the morning.
“Well you can’t go by yourself Stephen.” Mattie asks. “So who are you going to take with?”
“I thought about that.” Stephen replies and nods towards the other side of the fire where Amber, Stephens favorite bartender sits. “I am going to ask her.”
“Thata boy!” Mike chides. “She should keep you company.”
Stephen grins. “Well we can’t afford to have you two gone as well and she has been offering to help out. Plus I need you guys to watch Buddy for me while I'm gone.”

While Stephen arranges his trip with Amber, Mattie and Mike plan out Stephens route on the map. He is going to take the rail line North through Plainfield and connect to the line that runs West along Route 30 near Sugar Grove. This line will take him North West, crossing the Rock River near Oregon and up into Savanna. Traveling North along the Mississippi he will back track a little West on the tracks near Galena, so as to avoid Dubuque Iowa. A smaller set of tracks will allow him to rejoin the main rail line near Cassville Wisconsin and up into Prairie du Chien where his family is located.

Once Amber readily agreed to make the trip Stephen excitedly ran to his RV and quickly returned with his SIG 229 9mm in a Blackhawk Serpa holster and a double magazine pouch. Handing it to her, Amber stated that she had never fired a gun before so Stephen ran over the basics and had her fire a few rounds over the wall to get the feel of it. He also told her to practice removing the gun from the holster and perform mag changes while the gun was empty. He hoped to give her some target practice at a later date as she seemed to be a quick learner with the weapon. Driving the tracks to Wisconsin, Stephen didn’t think he would need her gun and was more interested in her company, good looks, and the extra set of eyes. He told her to be packed and ready in the morning and walked her to her uncle’s camper and told her goodnight as she climbed inside.

The next morning Amber was excitedly waiting by the truck with a couple bags as Stephen arrived with his weapons and ammunition and threw them in the extended cab of the truck. She was wearing a nice form fitting pair of jeans and a flattering auburn fleece pull over that showed curves in all the right places. Staring at her dark brown hair and green eyes, Stephen remembered how she made so much money off him and everyone else while bartending.
“You look happy this morning.” Stephen told her.
“This should be an exciting trip, I’m looking forward to it!” Amber answered back.
“Shouldn’t you be scared?” Stephen replied.
“No way! I have full faith that you will get us back home in one piece.” Amber remarked. “look what all we have made it through so far.”
“I like your attitude!” Stephen added. “And your company, thanks for coming with.”

Throwing Amber's bags in the cab as well they climbed in and started the truck. Stephens Beagle Buddy was sitting on the seat and Stephen had to hand him out to Mattie. Due to the attack on Dan’s truck yesterday, they were going to have the days raid convoy escort them safely out of town on the roads. The convoy moved out and they made quick time to Stephens old house. He had not been out there since they originally left several weeks ago and was relieved to see the neighborhood had not burned down and his house was intact. Stephen unlocked the door and checked on his vehicle, putting the new brush guard and Reese hitch attachment in the garage next to the truck for later installment. Always the prepper, Stephen wanted to leave the truck there for an ace in the hole and had been encouraging others to prepare vehicles away from the prison, just in case. Some listened but most did not as the prison seemed to be growing more and more secure and comfortable. Finally leaving the convoy, as it is now raiding his sub-division, Stephen got on the tracks south of Plainfield on Route 126.

They made good time traveling along, parallel to Route 30 and were soon well west of Joliet. They made small talk about the old times back at the bar and looked on in amazement at all the destruction they could see inflicted on the small towns as they drove through. They did not see a living soul and the only Zombies were too far away to even worry about, let alone shoot at. The truck made very little noise as it traveled and the Zombies had no time to react before they were safely past.

Amber was going through Stephens I-touch playing music and remarked how with no radio stations the little broadcaster was playing music crystal clear.
“We should try and get a radio station up and running, people might hear it and it could give them hope, information, and maybe a place to head for.” Amber mentioned while playing a Locash Cowboys song.
“That’s not a bad idea.” Stephen replied. “We will have to look into that when we get back.”
With a town coming into view, Amber checks the map and announces that they are near Rochelle IL. Soon a train appears on the tracks and Stephen has to pull off and drive around it. It is a BNSF train with three engines and at least sixty box cars. Stephen and Amber wonder aloud what all may be stacked in the box cars, it could be anything. The train continues into a small downtown business district and Stephen is stuck driving down Main Street. Smoke can be seen a few blocks North and several burned out buildings can be seen as well as stalled cars littering the streets. Several Zombies are milling about and Stephen hits several with the truck and encourages Amber to shoot a couple from the window if she wants to. Stephen remarks how this is a fairly small town with a population around 10,000 and pretty isolated. If it’s this bad here then that does not bode well for the rest of the country. Amber looks a little nervous about being off the tracks and no longer in the safety of the countryside. She clutches Stephens leg and moves closer to him on the seat. She flat out refuses to roll down the window to take a shot and Stephen teases her and gets punched in the shoulder for it as they soon are outside of town and back on the tracks heading West.

Reaching the Rock River, near Oregon IL, Stephen remarks how he chose to take this set of tracks to head West instead of a different main line that runs well North of this line, at a more direct route to their destination. That line crosses the river near Byron, the location on a nuclear plant. Although confident that safe guards had overridden the reactor and shut it down, he did not want to get any closer to it than he had to.
As they cross the river using the rail road bridge they can see into the town of Oregon itself. It appears that a good sized dam is located just North of the highway bridge that crosses the river. It appears that the bridge is barricaded as well as the town itself to the North of Route 64. Stephen stops the truck and gets his set of Bushnell Legacy 10-22x50 Binoculars and surveys the town. Showing Amber they both agree that they can see activity and it appears that living people are moving about behind the walls, which are built from piled cars, similar to the doomed safe zone in Joliet.

The tracks themselves pass South of town and when they reach the other side of the river Stephen drives off the tracks and circles around the west side of town on Gale road and soon slowly approaches a wall on the West side of town at Oregon Trail Road. As they drive up Amber spots men on top of the wall with rifles trained and Stephen Stops well short of the gate. Slowly exiting his truck, Stephen stays behind the concealment offered by the truck and tells Amber to stay low behind the engine block, just in case. He was wearing his level II soft body armor, which was useless against rifle rounds.
Stephen yells that he is a police officer and is just passing through and was looking for word on survivors and if any news is coming in from the West. The man, who does not seem overly friendly or hostile informs Stephen that the town had roughly 4500 residents prior to the outbreak and now had nearly 1000 behind their walls. They were able to use the lake created by the dam as a barrier from the Zombies and had sufficient time to wall off a 12 square block section of town before it got to bad. The Zombie's seemed to hit in waves, growing stronger each time, but that they were experiencing a lull at this time. They were getting by and were stripping the town outside of the walls as well as the local area for supplies to make it through the winter. Stephen informed the man of the stalled train in Rochelle and the possibility that it could hold valuable supplies. The man thanks him for the information and warns Stephen that bandits were reported to be operating to the West and that no refugee's were showing up from that direction. As they finished talking it occurred to Stephen that the man had not invited them to enter, and Stephen had no real reason to, so he excused himself after giving them frequencies to reach the prison on the 10 meter HAM radio band if they could scrounge up a radio. Wishing each other luck, Stephen turned the truck around and headed back to the tracks, heading West again.
Amber remarked how if the people in the town were bad, they would have been sitting ducks. Stephen agreed and it was decided that they should stay away from large groups of people if possible for the remainder of the trip.

As they drove on they passed through Savanna IL, which was burnt to the ground with not a survivor or Zombie to be seen. It looked as though this crossing point of the Mississippi had been flooded with refugees as well and violence had erupted, most likely over scarce recourses. Remembering what Eddie had told him, Stephen worried that he would find the same back home. Amber tried to stay positive but Stephen just couldn't shake the feeling that he was not going to like what he found when he arrived.

They drove through the beautiful bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley as they followed the river north. The view reminded Stephen of his youth, growing up in a similar small river town, and out here in the peace and quiet you could almost forget how the world had gone to shit. They snacked on trail mix and beef jerky and drank a couple cans of coca-cola while enjoying the view. Amber even spotted several Bald Eagles. South of Galena Illinois with it's historic downtown district Stephen cut back on a set of tracks that ran Northwest through town. He was going to follow this smaller line around Dubuque Iowa and up into Southwest Wisconsin.
The railroad bridge crossed the river just south of the highway bridge which was located just outside the downtown area. It was getting dark and Stephen had a bad vibe and had shut off the truck a few hundred yards from the bridge and told Amber to wait in the truck. Stephen grabbed his 20" DPMS with the ACOG TAO1 and Harris Bipod mounted on a Magpul MOE rifle hand guard. Quietly Stephen shut the door and moved up the tracks, making sure to keep along the trees on the west edge of the tracks until the bridge.

As Stephen crossed the railroad bridge and got eyes on the highway bridge, his instincts proved to be correct. A road block had been set up and was manned by four individuals who Stephen could clearly make out from the distance he was laying, about 100-150 yards according to the reticle on the ACOG. Due to the quiet night and the water, Stephen laid prone on the tracks and could hear the men's conversation clearly. They were clearly not expecting anyone to approach from the railroad bridge. One was bitching how no cars had tried to cross the river today and he was tired of having to watch for and kill the occasional Zombie that wondered up to them. The leader, a guy they called Butch, told him to shut up and be quiet, and that if he ever wanted to find fresh pussy again he was going to have to be patient. A third man agreed, remarking how there were still survivors in the area and they were on the move due to the growing Zombie population in the area. The fourth was cooking some dinner over a 20lb propane tank with a burner. Stephen could smell pork & beans cooking as the conversation turned towards their last victims and how the driver never even saw the roadblock and the other male passenger begged for his life before Butch shot him in the leg and fed him to a Zombie before killing both.
"Where is that bitch at?" Butch asked out of the blue.
"She is tied up in the back of the van." another man replied. "I think she is sleeping, we really wore her out today!"
This drew chuckles from the group and Stephen lowered the legs on the Bi-pod and settled into position, moving the selector from SAFE to FIRE. Stephen was amazed how clear cut it was that these were the bad guys and that they needed to be dealt with. He had never killed a man while an officer but never doubted that he could do it if he needed to. And all the killing of Zombies had certainly desensitized him more than any video game ever could. It is getting dark quickly and Stephen wants to take the shot before it gets much darker. The reticle of the ACOG is already glowing as he sets up the shot.
"Well go get her. I am lookin for a blow job with my supper." Butch orders one of the men. "And you, keep watching the road."
As one of the men walks towards a nearby van, Stephen lines up a shot on the middle of his back while thinking, ‘Not having to make head shots, this is going to be easy!’

Stephen fires two rounds into the mans back, watching him crumple, and then adjusts to fire on the man watching the road from the barricade, and gets two additional shots off before the man falls to the ground. Stephen is not sure if he scored a hit on the second man but the first stayed down where he was hit, not moving. Stephen no longer sees the other two men but simply adjusts his rifle again and sends three or four rounds into the 20lb propane tank which explodes into a bright fireball, less than a second later the concussion reaches Stephen as well.

Stephen waits a full 10 minutes for signs of movement and seeing none, crosses the bridge and creeps up the east bank of the river to the barricade. Stephen passes it on the outside and circles in from the North. From this vantage point he can see that three of the men are dead, including Butch, who like the man cooking, was laying right next to the propane tank when it went off, and was thoroughly cooked and nearly cut in half. The fourth man, who was the one Stephen shot at second, was wounded, shot in the shoulder, and was propped up against the side of the barricade facing South, waiting for the unseen attacker to approach. He too had been burnt in the explosion and from the way he was acting couldn't hear or see very well. Stephen slung his rifle, quickly drew his M9 and without saying a word put five rounds into the mans torso from his right flank. It was over. Stephen actually felt like a million bucks after successfully killing the scum and wondered if that was normal? Not that there was anything normal anymore. At least they wouldn't be able to cause anymore suffering and Stephen could definitely live with what he had done.

Stephen carefully walked over to the van and cleared the front before he opened the back and found the woman that they had been talking about. A middle aged woman, she was naked, bound and gagged, and very much dead. Stephen couldn’t tell if she had suffocated on her gag or maybe just gave up after being repeatedly raped by the now dead gang of filth. He softly closed the van door and walked back to the railroad bridge and back towards the truck. Amber was terrified due to the gunshots and explosion and was clutching the 229 in her hands. Stephen made sure she knew it was him a long ways off before approaching the truck.

As he started driving again Amber bombarded him with a million questions and Stephen finally explained what he had done, leaving out the part with the dead women in the van. Amber listed to the story in silence and then asked several times how he could be sure they were bad men? Stephen continuously assured her that they were and Amber was quiet for the next hour. With the adrenaline wearing off, Stephen got tired quick and when they reached a small railroad bridge over a ravine, Stephen parked in the middle and announced it was as good a place as any to stop for the night. Any Zombies in the area would find it nearly impossible to walk out onto the bridge, and they should be safe there. Stephen rolled out sleeping bags in the back of the truck and brushed his teeth before crawling in exhausted, not even having any dinner. Amber joined him and just laid there quietly looking at the man who had just killed four people and didn’t even seem fazed by it. She was a little scared that it didn’t bother him but at the same time felt safe laying next to him. They were soon both fast asleep.

********

When the sun came up on Dan and Chris’s second day of the trip, they gave the farm a good once over and then again scanned the area with binoculars. After they thought they were ok they jumped in the truck and headed towards the farm house that had the lights showing. As they drove up the long lane they were both thinking hoping that the farmer doesn’t have a old hunting rifle and is trigger happy. They stopped about 50 yards from the house and turned off the truck.
Dan yelled out the window, “We don’t want to hurt anyone we just want to lend you some help if you need it”
He heard an middle aged man yell back “Why would you want to help us?”
“Because it is the right thing to do” Dan replied
Shortly after that a middle aged man stepped out of the front door holding an old double barrel shotgun.
“Step out of that truck real slow” the man said.
Chris asked Dan “Your not going out there are you?”
“I don’t think he will be a problem." Dan replied. "Looks like a decent guy, just cover me kid.”
As Dan exited the truck he hoped Chris would keep him covered without alarming the man. Dan walked up to the guy with his arms raised, holding a cigar in one hand and a lighter in the other, stopped about 15 feet away and lit his cigar.
“You shouldn’t leave your windows uncovered at night with the lights on." Dan offered up. "Your house looked like a lighthouse on the ocean last night and it might invite trouble.”
“You look like you could use a hot cup of coffee and breakfast, come on in.” The man replied after spitting a big mouth full of chew before turning and walking back into the house, motioning them to follow with his hand.


Dan followed and turned back to Chris, giving him a wave to follow. Chris exited his truck and continued after making sure his M9 was on his hip and loaded. Once inside they introduced themselves and sat down to some hot coffee and some delicious sausage, biscuits and gravy. The man, Gary, and his wife Ann had two kids Matt and Sara. As they sat around the kitchen table talking Dan and Chris were able to answer a few questions about how things were looking elsewhere. Gary and Ann sent the kids out to play while Dan told them about some of the bad things that they have seen and lived through. Chris eventually went out with the kids to keep an eye on them. Gary said that they haven’t seen any of the infected in awhile but no use in taking any chances.
"These biscuits are outstanding Ann." Dan mentions, filling his plate again. "And this gravy is delicious!"
"Why thank you Dan." Ann gushed.
As they talked Dan asked them if they needed anything and Gary told them that they were doing pretty good. He was curious as to what Dan and Chris all had in their truck.
“We are low on a few things but we have plenty of meat” Ann said.
Dan was kind of surprised at that, and quickly glanced down at his plate. Gary didn't appear to live on a working farm and there weren’t any big patches of woods nearby that would hold deer or other animals. As Dan finished telling his hosts about the prison and all that was being accomplished, Gary asked him where they were heading to. Dan told him about the cabin near Peoria his brother and a few friends were at. Gary informed Dan that his place was near Manville close to Highway 17 and that they were headed in the right direction.
"We had better be or my navigator Chris is going to have a lot of explaining to do!" Dan joked.

Finishing breakfast after they came to a stopping point in the conversation Dan stepped outside lit his cigar and walked out to talk to Chris in private.
“Keep your eye out, something is a little weird here” Dan said in a low voice.
Just then Gary came out of the house and asked if we had anything we wanted to trade for some diesel fuel, which he had plenty of. Dan told Chris to grab some sugar and coffee from the truck as well as one of Mikes old .38's and two boxes of ammo, and trade it for the fuel.
"Go with Gary to fill up the truck." Dan whispered. "I know it looks like we got the short end of this deal but I want to talk to Ann without Gary around." When Chris left with Gary to go fill up the truck, Dan went back into the house where Ann was cleaning up and asked her about what she said about having plenty of meat.
“Where do you guys get it all?” Dan asked.
“I don’t know, my husband just goes out and gets it." Ann replied. "He never used to be a very good hunter before, but he has had a lot of luck lately.”
“How often do you have meat?” Dan asked in a bit of an accusing tone."
“Just about every meal” Ann said.
Dan's stomach turned slightly as he asked Ann “Do you share it with your neighbors?”
“We haven’t heard from our neighbors since this all started." Ann smiled while replying. "but we would share if they needed it.”

Dan thanks Ann again for breakfast and walks back outside. Not seeing Chris or Gary returning yet with the truck, he decided to have a quick look around. He walked out to the barn and entered through the gap between the large wooden doors. Finding basically nothing that would lead Dan to believe Gary was operating a working farm, he opened a door to a back room in the barn. Dan pulled his Surefire G2 LED flashlight out of his pocket and lit up the room.
Inside the room was equipment to butcher animals laying on a long sturdy looking wooden bench. There were several big chest coolers at the end of the room and several big bags of rock salt on a pallet.
"He must salt down his meat to keep it good." Dan tells himself.
As he was going to leave the room he sees a garbage can in the corner and after opening the lid and shining his light in it, he was surprised to see it full of clothes. Thinking maybe it was a rag bin, Dan rummages through it and finds various clothing, belonging to men, women and even some children. Some of it was blood stained and it was not cut up into rags. Dan's stomach turned again as he walked back to one of the large chest freezers. As he opened it he saw a piece of bone connected to some meat buried in the salt. Dan lifted the piece of meat out of the salt he noticed something that made him instantly puke up his breakfast. It was a human arm complete with fingers. Dan ran out of the room to find Chris, wishing he hadn’t left his rifle in the truck.
"Damn it, I will never learn!" Dan snarled under his breath.
He pulled his Glock 21 out of its holster as he ran out of the barn and back around a smaller machine shed, to where he thought he saw Chris drive the truck with Gary. As he came around the corner Gary was standing over Chris, who was lying on the ground, with a shovel. Gary had it held up in the air about ready to give Chris a final blow. Dan wasted no time in placing three 230 grain Federal HST’s into the side of Gary’s chest and one into the side of Gary’s head. As Gary fell to the ground Dan ran up to Chris and was glad that he still had a pulse. He grabbed Chris and threw him into the front passenger seat of the truck. He was knocked out cold but Dan was more than eager to get the hell out of there. Dan didn’t know if Gary had an accomplice, and didn’t care to know. He fired up the truck and put it into drive. As he put the hammer down and roared past the house, Ann was coming out of the house with a puzzled look on her face and the double barrel in her hand.
“Boy does she have a surprise coming when she finds out where her husband has been getting their meat!” Dan tells the unconscious Chris. “And shit, we left the sugar, coffee and gun....”

As they were traveling down a gravel road an hour later, Dan took a bottle of water and splashed it on Chris's face. Chris started to come to and placed his hand on his head where he had a big bump and several cuts on his head. "What the hell happened?" Chris asked.
Dan told Chris about what he found, adding “I think Gary was going to add us to his meat collection."
Chris covered his mouth as he thought about the sausage he had eaten earlier that day. "I don’t feel so good" Chris said.
"I wondered why that sausage was so tender.” Dan responded. “Must have been from someone’s ass cheek!"
Chris threw up out the window., and Dan laughed. “Join the club!”

The rest of the trip to Peoria was smooth. Crossing Highway 89 Chris tried to reach the guys at the cabin on the Ham radio, but didn’t have any success. The property was close, bordering the Woodford County Conservation Area and quite remote. Arriving at the property a little latter in the day than they had planned, Dan still had plenty of light. It was shortly after noon and it was a beautiful fall day. The trees were dropping their leaves and Mother Nature was getting ready to take her long winter nap. Dan was again wondering what had happened to everyone at the cabin. They had never missed a radio meeting and now that he was here he worried at what he might find.

********

Stephen awoke to a strange sound. It was just after dawn and Amber was laying on his shoulder fast asleep. Looking at her he again noticed how attractive she was, and how ‘stiff’ he was.... The noise again caught Stephens ear and he eased Amber off his shoulder and sat up. Behind the truck a lone Zombie had attempted to walk out on to the bridge and had fallen, becoming wedged between two railroad ties. Stephen put on his boots and laced them up, grabbed his M9 and then walked out to the Zombie in his boxers, no shirt or pants. Walking up to the Zombie he stopped and stared at it. A former young white male who from the looks of it had survived till recently. Dressed in Realtree cammo and still hissing and clawing away, trying in vain to reach Stephen although clearly beaten. Stephen raised his M9 and fired a round into the Zombie’s head.
Amber shot up in the back of the truck and screamed.
“Fucking Zombie’s” Stephen said, walking back to the truck.

Shortly before noon Stephen and Amber rolled in to Prairie Du Chien after a cold breakfast, refueling the truck and having to drive around two more BNSF trains. Stephen approached via a railroad bridge that crossed the Wisconsin River. True to Eddie’s word the town was completely destroyed. Nearly every structure in town was burnt and the Wal-Mart west of town on Highway 18 was gutted. The same for the large Cabala's on Highway 35. It looked like a large army had moved through the area, destroying everything. Similar perhaps to Sherman’s March to the Sea out of Atlanta during the Civil War. Stephen and Amber did not see a single survivor, but Stephen took shots with his AR-15 at the occasional Zombie. There just wasn’t many of those either. There was just nothing. Stopping on Highway 27 just outside of the city limits, Stephen pulls into a driveway that led to a roadside property where two houses once stood. Both were burnt to the ground and trash from refugees was piled high in both yards. Stephen gets out of the truck and walks around quietly for awhile and then returns to the truck. Pulling back out of the driveway he quietly remarks. “That used to be my parents and brothers places.”
He heads back West into town without saying anything and Amber quietly grabs his knee.

Driving carefully around abandoned cars Stephen reached the large bridge that stretched West across the mighty Mississippi. It was jammed solid with stalled cars facing West and was completely impassible by vehicle. Stephen parks the truck at an angle across the grass in the parkway just in front of the bridge and exits the truck.
“If we could have gotten across the river I was going to show you the view from Pikes Peak state park. It’s just outside of McGregor.” Stephen said, pointing to a large bluff that overlooked the river from the Iowa side.
“My grandma’s property is over there as well, a few miles outside of town, but it’s just not practical to go see it.” Stephen said with a defeated look on his face. “But this is where I grew up.” he added.
Amber, seeing the hurt in his eyes just stated. “It sure is a pretty area.” and stood by him silently.
After a few minutes movement on the bridge caught their attention. Grabbing his binoculars Stephen trains them on the bridge, and a large hoard of Zombies came into focus. Weaving through the abandoned vehicles they advance, in a thick and deep line.
Grabbing his DPMS Stephen deploys the rifle across the hood of the truck and lines up a head shot at 300 yards with his ACOG and fires, missing. “That’s where all the fucking Zombie’s went, chasing people west of the river!” Stephen growls.
Firing again and again, Stephen quickly runs his magazine dry. Pulling a spare from his vest Stephen turns to Amber. “Get my ammo bag from the front seat!”
“There must be a thousand Zombies coming Stephen... Are you crazy? Lets go!” She yells.
“Get me my fucking bag!” Stephen screams, and begins firing.
Amber starts to cry as she retrieves the bag. Dropping it at Stephens feet she pleads for them to leave, but Stephen just ignores her and continues to fire into the approaching mass. Zombies fall but the number facing them just grows larger and larger. As they close to within 100 yards Stephen has a pile of empty magazines at his feet and the hand guards on the rifle are nearly hot to the touch. Stephen is loading yet another magazine and Amber is now begging to leave.
“Please.” She sobs quietly. “Can we leave?”
Stephen, turning and looking at Amber who has tears streaming down her face, snaps out it and Quickly looks back at the Zombies who have closed to within 30-40 yards.
“Get in the truck, lets go!” Stephen says and practically throws Amber through the open driver door before jumping in and tearing off east bound, leaving the hoard in his wake.

Driving a few minutes in quiet, Stephen apologizes, stating he just lost it for a minute and it will not happen again. He says that he wants to check on his property several miles Northwest of town near Steuben before heading home. It is a quiet drive down an empty gravel road and they soon reach remote property and the shooting range Stephen had built, and had just enjoyed with friends a few weeks earlier. Refugees had found it as well and had trashed the place, leaving garbage strewn about. All his firewood had been used up and the shed Stephen kept his target stands and such in had been broken into and looted. Looking around, Stephen grabs a shovel, walks over to the outhouse which set back in the woods, and tips it over.
“What are you doing?” Amber asks.
Her question is answered as Stephen digs a small hole next to the shit pit and retrieves two metal tins, wrapped in heavy plastic, from the ground.
“Each sealed tin contains 700 rounds of AK-47 Ammo” Stephen says triumphantly.
“Why did you have then under the bathroom?” Amber asks.
“For the blue helmets.” Stephens replies as if its obvious. “Or Zombie’s... Hey how about some target practice before we leave?’
“Ok?" Amber laughs as she shrugs her shoulders.

Amber watches as Stephen then goes through the motions of setting up several target stands on the range. finds ear protection in the shed and then shows her the proper stance for shooting her SIG 229 and how to properly use the sights. Stephen always enjoyed teaching new people how to shoot, and this was no exception. Stephen has her put several hundred rounds down range with the 9mm, practicing headshots, and then moves on to his Bushmaster AR-15 with the Aimpoint. After a good 90 minutes Stephen is wrapping up with some transition drills and is using the opportunity to get in close to Amber, his arms wrapped around her from behind, showing how to quicken the transition. Finally she stops, holsters her pistol and turns, kissing Stephen on the mouth for several seconds.
"You are a fantastic kisser!" Stephen remarks, grabbing Amber around the waist and pulling her in close. Her soft breasts press into his chest as his hands slip down, grabbing her ass as he kisses her again.
Stephen is interrupted by movement off to his left and looks up.
A lone Zombie has arrived, drawn by all the gunfire. It looks familiar to Stephen as it stumbles their direction
"I don't fucking believe it! My gun hating, liberal, asshole neighbor is a fucking Zombie!" Stephen cries.
Amber looks at Stephen with a curious gaze.
"It's a long story. Ok Amber, it's time to graduate from Stephens Basic firearms class." Stephen says with an air of authority now in his voice. "Go out and kill that Zombie, and then lets get the hell out of here and head home."
Shrugging, Amber walks towards the Zombie, who is dressed in overalls and has a tool belt around his waist, and draws her pistol and checks the magazine before reseating it. Turning back to Stephen she asks. "You used to know this guy?"
Stephen just laughs and nods his head. Amber turns and aims the pistol at the Zombie which is now 30 feet away. She fires a round and the Zombie falls on his back and goes still.
"An A for the day!" Stephen says, walking up and playfully placing the OD green LaRue tactical hat he was wearing onto Ambers head. "Lets roll! I want to be home by tomorrow."
"Tomorrows Halloween." Amber says as they head for the truck. They make sure to load up the sealed tins of 7.62x39 ammunition along with the sealed plastic tube that was buried along with them, containing an assortment of survival gear that Stephen had buried after buying the property.

Back on the tracks headed home, Stephen and Amber spend the night on the same railroad bridge as the night before. After a dinner of MRE's they prepare the bedding in the back of the truck. Stephen sets up two camp showers and he and Amber get a chance to clean off the dirt accumulated from their long journey. Stephen insists on cleaning the guns as well and after he his finished he undresses to his boxers and slips under the sleeping bags. He finds Amber, whom he thought was asleep, in her bra and panties.
"Wow Amber, you look amazing." Stephen says, pulling her close.
"Well you have been amazing the last couple days." She replies. "Now lets see if you can finish undressing me yourself."

********

As Dan and Chris approach the entrance of the property, Dan has an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. They drive down the long lane to the cabin and it finally comes into view. They first notice that the door to the cabin is open and there is a corpse laying out in the middle of the yard, half eaten. Dan and Chris both jump out of the truck and ran towards the cabin with their rifles at the ready. Dan tells Chris to check the shed and he will check the cabin.

They simultaneously start to clear the two buildings and Dan hears Chris fire off several rounds and then it goes quiet. Dan enters the kitchen area with his rifle up and puts three rounds into the face of a Zombie from about a foot away. As the back of the Zombies head explodes its body dropped straight to the floor. Dan continues in without stopping and clears the other front room, coming across two other Zombies that he easily takes care of as well. Before moving down the hall to the back area of the cabin Dan makes a tactical reload from his Redi-mag and then heads down the hall. At the end of the hall there are doors to three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The bathrooms are first and both are clear. Moving to the first bedroom, Dan opens the door and identifies a Zombie in the far corner. As he stands there looking at a Zombie that was across the room, his rifle raised, Dan doesn't let the lead fly. He just stands there. He lowers his rifle into an indoor ready position and just freezes. The Zombie sees him and starts to move towards Dan. As the Zombie closes the distance, Dan just stands there unable to do anything. He doesn't raise his rifle, grab his pistol, or pull his machete form its scabbard. He just stands there staring at the face of the Zombie, the face that used to belong to his brother Dave.

As his brother is closing the short distance in what seemed like slow motion, Dan didn’t feel anything. Not will to flee or fight. He could feel the life drain out of his body. Just as the Zombie formally known as Dave grabs Dan by the back of the head and started to pull him in for a fatal bite, his head explodes. Chris had come around the corner just in time to see what would have been Dan's last seconds alive.
Chris finished clearing the room and then walked up to Dan and saying "What the fuck is wrong with you, have you lost your mind?"
As Chris said this he was checking Dan for bite marks. He couldn’t figure out why Dan was just standing there not moving.
Chris yells. "'We have got to get us the hell out of here. There are more bodies in the other bedrooms, there is nothing left to see here, they are all gone. Lets go!"
He shakes Dan who just stands there looking at the Zombie that was lying in front of him.
"Sorry buddy!" Chris says and then punches Dan in the face with everything he had. Dan falls over hard, not ready for the hit.
Dan looked at the Zombie lying on the floor and then looked at Chris and says. "Thanks, I needed that. It is kind of late for introductions but I would like you to meet my brother Dave, Dave this is my friend Chris."
Chris didn’t know what to say, he was not expecting that. Finally uttering “Sorry buddy but you need to man the fuck up; we need to get out of here and head back to Joliet. I am sorry about your brother but we have all lost loved ones in this mess."
Dan looks at Chris and then gets up and goes to the kitchen. Rummaging through the kitchen cabinets, Dan finds a stash of Sky Vodka and opens a bottle, taking a long drink. He then grabs two others and throws them in a plastic bag he finds in a drawer. Dan then walks up to Chris who is watching in amazement and punches him in the face.
”What the hell was that for?' Chris says.
Dan just takes another drink and says. “Now we are even!" And turns and heads down the hall back towards the truck. "Let's fucking go!"
Chris got up and rubbed his jaw and thinking, 'Man I hate that guy!'

As Chris filed in behind Dan he sees him get in the passenger seat while taking another drink and lights up a cigar. Chris jumps into and then fires up the big Ford and starts heading down the drive. When they get out to the road they travel in silence for about 30 minutes before coming across a vacant looking house well off the road. Dan tells him to pull over. They both got out and as Chris scans the area for threats, seeing nothing Dan kicks in the door and pulls a chair up to the empty kitchen table and finishes off the bottle.
"I'm tired and don't give a fuck anymore, so we are staying here tonight." Dan announces to Chris as he walks in the door.

The next few hours go by slowly for Chris as he picks through a couple MRE's and drinks bottled water while cleaning his rifle and topping off magazines. Dan has started on his second bottle of Vodka and is soon incoherent. As the sun was starting to go down Chris found a good place upstairs to sleep for the night and went through the routine of checking the area with binoculars and securing the house. They were time consuming chores but were quickly becoming routine and second nature for Chris. Dan had become quiet as it grew dark and as they settled down and tried to get comfortable, little was said. They both knew where they stood.
"Hang in there buddy." Was all Chris said.
Dan didn't reply, but nodded his head slightly.

When they woke up it was the same deal. Chris wanted to get underway quickly, eager to get back to the prison, the only home they had left. Dan on the other hand was cleaning his rifle and was hell bent on revenge. Finishing breakfast Chris loaded up the truck and to his surprise Dan was following along with the program. As they were getting ready to leave Dan headed for the drivers door.
"I'm driving today kid." His only comment.
Dan headed down the driveway and reaching the end, turned left, back towards Peoria.
"Where the hell are we going?" Chris asked.
"Back to the property!" was Dan's reply. "We are going to kill every Zombie on the property and bury my brother and friends. You are going to help, and then we will go home."
Chris realized he had no choice and as they pulled back down the drive to the cabin checked is AR-15 and Beretta to make sure they were locked and loaded.

Stopping the truck Dan jumps out and yells at the top of his lungs. "I'm here mother fuckers, come and get me!"
A rustle can be heard in the brush and soon several Zombies appear, shambling towards Dan. Dan screams a bloody Indian war cry and charges the small hoard, firing wildly. Chris, thinking that Dan just might get himself killed, decides to stay near the truck just in case. Jumping into the truck bed, he climbs onto the roof and begins picking targets that are dangerously near to Dan. His rifle on full auto, Dan kills at least 15 Zombies at close range and burns through a full combat load of 270 rounds. Chris is grateful that Dan's rifle is suppressed as it keeps the noise down, keeping God knows how many nearby Zombie's from hearing. Chris only needs to kill seven or eight from the trucks roof and expends less than one magazine while thinking that the EoTech magnifier was built for this situation.
After the targets dwindled, Dan and Chris began the difficult task of digging shallow graves for Dave and the others in the group. The labor was intensive and despite the cool afternoon both were sweating profusely. By the time it was done, both were completely exhausted and it was after dark. "Thank you Chris." Dan said. "I feel a little better now. I am sorry that took so long, we will have to take off in the morning. We will get an early start and fly back home. Exhausted, Chris just nods and opens another MRE for dinner. Dan plays with the HAM radio in the truck, and locates an operator 20 miles West of Peoria. The guy is on his way to the West Coast, hoping to make it to the government safe zone. He also relays how the National Guard Air Lift Wing in Peoria was been wiped out, the base overran. Dan speculates how the planes probably made to much noise and drew in a massive amount of Zombie's. They continue talking until the mans signal starts to fade out and they wish each other good luck. Chris was able to locate the radio in the cabin during their conversation but found it destroyed, raked with bullets.

Returning to the truck, Chris finds Dan asleep behind the wheel and crawls into the back of the truck and tries to stay awake to keep watch but soon doses off. He awakens to the truck engine rumbling to life and checking his watch he sees that it is just after seven in the morning and they are soon on the road. Chris finds that Dan seems to be in a foul mood today and as he drives along hits mail boxes on purpose and sideswipes more than one abandoned vehicle as they pass. After what seems to Chris to be an eternity, they find themselves on a gravel road that starts to parallel a black top road about four to five hundred yards to the North. Chris notices some cars clumped together on it ahead in the distance, seeing several cars and at least two semi-trucks. Chris wondered what kind of goodies were in those semi-trucks and what happened to the drivers of the other vehicles. As Dan was looking at the cars he noticed that one small import car on two flats had people standing around it trying to get in. Dan stopped the truck and he jumped out and looked through his binoculars. He soon noticed that the four 'people' standing around the car were in fact Zombie's.
Chris asked "Why do you think they are trying to get in that car?"
"Only one reason I can think of, must be people in it." Dan said. "Lets give them a hand."
Dan grabbed 'Betty' and placed her across the hood of the truck. The vehicle was about 600 yards away and Dan settled down his breathing as the first round found its mark and one of the Zombies at the driver’s door lost its head. Dan fired his second round and then two more, finishing off the Zombie's in only four shots.
"Much better than yesterday." Chris remarks, receiving an evil glare and the bird from Dan.

As they glassed the mess with their optics Chris said "Well we saved them."
Dan said "Yeah, let’s go over there and see who we saved. Those .375 H&H shells aren't cheap. Hopefully they have something to offset the cost."
Driving over two fences and a large soybean field they reach the small traffic log jam on the highway. They jumped out of the truck with their rifles up, not wanting to get caught off guard. As they were looking around Chris heard something coming from the car. It was a soft moan or maybe a cry. As they approached the vehicle cautiously.
Dan looked into the back seat and said, "Shit now what do we do?"
In the back seat still strapped into a car seat was a baby boy. Chris and Dan stood there, each waiting for the other to say something.
Finally Dan mentions how he probably shot the kids parents who had gotten bitten by the trucker while trying to open the trailer looking for supplies. And how they must have not been here long as the kid didn't even have a dirty diaper.

Nodding, Chris says that they must have just missed them and then caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. Several of the other cars had Zombies trapped inside, a few even seat belted in. Shaking his head in disgust, Chris grabbed the baby still in his car seat and put him into the back seat of their big diesel and then went back for the diaper bag and formula. He took his time tightening the straps and making sure the car seat was put in properly.
He looked at Dan and said “I went to classes to make sure these were put in properly, I wouldn’t want you to give me a ticket.”
Dan just laughed and told Chris to step it up. "Your responsible for feeding and changing him too smartass."
Dan climbed in the driver door and Chris climbed back in as well and sat on the window opening with his feet in the truck and his arms resting on the roof of the truck holding his rifle. As they pulled away Chris would take shots at increasingly longer ranges, trying to hit the seat belted Zombies. “Why are u wasting ammo?” Dan yelled as the kid started to cry.
“Because it is fun, now shut up and drive." Chris shot back.
"By the way, what did you name your kid?” Dan countered.
“My kid? Oh hell no. I think this will be Mattie’s kid.” Chris said. They both laughed as Chris took a few last shots at about 600 yards, not really knowing if the rounds were passing through the bodies of the Zombies or not.

********

Matvei kicked the steel casings of 5.45 x 39 around in the dust with his foot. Another firefight had played out here, the third he had come across today alone. They were most definitely one sided firefights, between his men and the unarmed Zombie hoard. Yet it was obvious from the bodies strewn about that the Zombies were not the only ones taking losses. The Zombies made up for what lacked in arms and tactics with overwhelming numbers and unrelenting determination.

He was now just outside of Allen Okalahoma, some 170 miles north of Dallas and has been chasing his fragmented army North for several days, unable to catch up to any survivors. They were moving towards a rendezvous point in Missouri and as of yet had been able to catch up to them. After leaving the golf course he had managed to see a small contingent of his men on a convoy north on toll way 289. He was resting on slight hill several miles away and his signal mirror went unnoticed. After healing up and waiting two days for a rescue party that never showed, Matvei left north bound on foot and shortly found transportation in the form of a 2006 Dodge Caravan. Since then Matvei had been scrounging up fuel and avoiding traffic accidents while moving North on Highway 289.

Shortly thereafter Matvei began coming across signs of his advancing men. Shell casings and dead bodies around gas stations and stores. Any living person that Matvei saw in the distance was unwilling to make contact with him. All the traffic headed North was drawing the Zombies with them and Matvei did not have to shoot many himself and would pass the occasional Zombie along the highway.

After looking around in the service station and not finding anything of value Matvei carefully moved into Allen itself on foot looking for more suitable transportation. His van had been run hard and wasn't sounding to good. Grabbing his gear and somehow managing avoid any major Zombie concentrations in town, Matvei found a 2008 black Dodge Ram truck in the driveway of a single family residence. It was approaching dark and Matvei decided to check the ranch style house for anything useful and maybe get lucky and find the keys. Kicking in the front door Matvei used the Streamlight TLR-VIR light on his G36 to clear the house. He found the house in disarray but the keys on the table in the blood soaked kitchen. Catching movement in his peripheral vision, Matvei turned towards the hallway leading towards the bedrooms and his light illuminated a white male, sickly and pale with a blood stained mouth approaching at a near sprint. The 160 lumen LED bulb would have blinded any normal attacker but the Zombie didn’t even flinch and Matvei quickly dispatched the Zombie homeowner with a quick three round burst from the G36.

It was all quiet and Matvei waited for nearly half an hour for any other Zombies to show up but none did. Securing the rest of the house and setting up camp in the attic, Matvei rummaged through the house and located 200 Remington UMC .45 rounds as well as 10 boxes of Hornady TAP ammunition for the G36, but no firearms. The truck had a ¾ tank of gas and Matvei found 5 additional gallons in the lawn shed in the back yard. Matvei dragged the corpse outside returned, dragging furniture in front of all the doors and windows. He found various canned goods in the pantry and ate several cans of beef ravioli before loading the rest into a box along with a can opener, before promptly passing out in the attic.

********

Walking these prison walls at night, the cold wind reminds me that I forgot my damn jacket. It's late October, nearly Halloween and the weather can fool you; nice and warm during the day but quite cold at night, and nightfall gets earlier and earlier now much to my dismay. It won’t be long until snow starts to fall and I hate the cold. But it wasn’t that cold out when I started my workout. Some intense sets of push up’s, sit up’s and chin up’s followed by a slow jog around the inner side of the wall had me working up a sweat.

The teams of landscapers we have had some of the older refugees become have turned an old overgrown jungle of a prison yard into a nicely manicured yard that any homeowner would be proud to have.
Seeing a familiar large man standing outside the old firehouse which is now refurbished as our new Security Command Center / Armory up ahead, I steer myself towards him.
“Hey Logan, how are the security upgrades you made panning out?” I asked.
Logan looked up and put out his smoke. “Come on up brother and I will show you.”
Following him upstairs he points to the several monitors in front of him.
“It’s all going to be gravy from here brother. The infrared cameras we just got installed today picks up those Zombie bastards a long ways off at night.” He said with pride.
Looking around for his side kick and not seeing him I mention it to Logan.
“Oh Kleaner is making his rounds of the other guard stations making sure they are not sleeping." Logan bellows while joking, "I know it is boring work but we rather they be bored than a Zombie chew toy during their nap.”
“Stephen was right to pick you two to head up the prison security." I said.
"We have a lot of people entrusting us with protecting them and their loved ones.”
I swear I could see him swell with pride as I spoke.
“Carry on solider.” I said as I walked out of the building and started making my way back to my RV bus for some shut eye.

Since Dan and Chris left to check on Dan’s brother down in the lower part of Illinois, a lot more responsibilities were dumped onto my shoulders. It didn’t help that Stephen got word that the area in Wisconsin along the Mississippi river where he grew up and had family was desolate. Not from Zombie's, but by refugees and gangs of live humans looting and raping as they fled the masses of undead. He left as well to check on them. So what was I to do? Tell them no? What was done was done. Tomorrow was another day.

Entering my humble abode I shower and towel off best I can, change into a pair of shorts and quickly hop into the bed and cringe at the freezing cold sheets. Mattie was not back to the RV from her rounds checking on the new intakes, and although I want to wait up I am thoroughly exhausted.
As sleep quickly settles in, I think about the mission I want to try out. I just have to figure out the best way for setting a large Zombie trap.

Unknowingly to Mike as he sleeps, outside the prison walls plans and mere circumstances are coming together that will change the small group forever.
Link Posted: 10/29/2010 2:27:05 PM EDT
What was supposed to be two smaller chapters of side trips ended up just being one large chapter 10. Let me know what you think and if you find any errors. Chapter 11 is back at the prison, greatly advances the story, and is nearly complete. As of now we have enough material for 18 chapters plus an epilogue. That would put us at completing the book and posting the last chapter on or about Christmas eve.
Link Posted: 10/29/2010 3:58:47 PM EDT
Excellent.. I love it so far
Link Posted: 10/30/2010 3:16:19 AM EDT
Thanks man!
Link Posted: 10/30/2010 3:25:00 AM EDT
Awesome!
Link Posted: 10/30/2010 11:14:02 AM EDT
Great Update! Only a few small errors I noticed but nothing major. I have a question for you......... what happened to the kids in the closet at Doug's cabin? Also why was the radio at the cabin riddled with bullets?

AKASL

LIVE ZOMBIE FREE OR DIE
Link Posted: 10/30/2010 4:09:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AKASL:
Great Update! Only a few small errors I noticed but nothing major. I have a question for you......... what happened to the kids in the closet at Doug's cabin? Also why was the radio at the cabin riddled with bullets?

AKASL

LIVE ZOMBIE FREE OR DIE


The rook the kids were in got overran by zombies who broke through the window. They are presumed dead and Chris mentions other bodies in the other bedroom. Dan's brother Dave was not in the same room as Tom.
The radio was just caught in crossfire.
Both instances could be cleaned up and clarified.
Thanks for the input
Link Posted: 10/31/2010 12:59:22 PM EDT
great update man. I can't wait for more.
Link Posted: 11/1/2010 1:44:23 AM EDT
Excellant update, keep them rolling
Link Posted: 11/1/2010 1:34:27 PM EDT
Very nice. I like your writing style.
Link Posted: 11/2/2010 8:34:20 PM EDT
Keep it up
Link Posted: 11/4/2010 8:38:40 PM EDT
I love this damn story!!
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 9:40:06 AM EDT
IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 2:32:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2010 5:20:46 AM EDT by JPD158]
Chapter Eleven: Trick or Treat
October 30, 2011
Day 34

I'm up again with the sun, awakened by a knock on the door to my RV. I just lay there in bed hoping that whoever is knocking will just go away and let me sleep a few more minutes. Unfortunately the knocking continues and I am about to get out of bed and ask them what the hell is so God damn urgent that it cant wait till eight when I get to the command center. I then hear Mattie answer the door and unknowingly saves the unsuspecting soul a royal ass chewing. I decide to let Mattie handle it and hit the shower. I don't take hot showers for granted, having gone without for months during the first Gulf War. And hot water is definitely a precious resource today.

Exiting the shower I am hit buy the rich smell of coffee as Mattie has brewed a fresh pot. I never drank it much before the world went to shit but now I even have a greater appreciation of what a luxury a cup of coffee can be. Exiting my room Mattie hands me a hot steaming mug.
"Two creams and two sugars, just the way you like it." She says.
"I could get used to this real quick." I answer, taking the mug. "I might have to just keep you!"
"You will have to catch me first, sweet heart." She laughs while pouring herself a cup.
"The way you run, that may be difficult." I answer before changing the subject. "Who was at the door?"
"Oh just some guy asking where Stephen was." She answers. "He said he wasn't answering his door and that he hadn't seen him around lately. He was having a problem with his pistol and knew that Stephen was a gun guy. I told him that Stephen had gone on a short trip and would be back soon."
"He had to wake us up for that?' I replied. "What an asshole!"
"I figured you would be pissed so I spared the guy an ass chewing." Mattie laughs, before asking what my plans are for the day.
“More of the same.” I reply. “We are going to hit the area around Columbia and Henderson hard today. The houses are pretty close together over there and I would like to get them cleared and some of them torn down to create a fire line. Any number of things could start a fire that could tear through that entire area unchecked.
“Well I have got a lot of loose ends to tie up around here today but I would love to go out on a raid tomorrow.” Mattie offers. “I would like to see some action.”
“Ask and you shall receive.” I reply while going back to my room to retrieve my gear for the raid.

********

Brother Jonas slipped away from Mike’s RV after listening to their conversation while pretending to be filling a gas can for Mike’s generator. He then walks past the two security bosses who were standing at the entrance to the small circle of motor homes, arguing over if they should ask Mike or the female Mattie if they could wear badges of some sort to make them look more official.
‘Amateurs.’ He thought shaking his head in disgust.
This may the perfect time to take the woman that Father Kettle seems so infatuated over.
Jonas shrugged. ‘If Kettle says don’t harm her then I won’t.’ he thought. ‘Those other clowns though are a different story…and since three out of five are gone and the female is hands off; then that only leaves the big bastard Mike.’

Settling down on a bench around the large campfire that was always lit in the prison yard, Jonas warms himself during the cool morning along with several others, draws his blade and begins to whittle a piece of wood, sending the chips into the flames… ‘And I got something for that bald fucker.’ He thought with a smile.
‘But first things first.’ Jonas reminds himself. ‘I am going to need to get another note out. I need to let the men know that Stephen is gone as well and tomorrow may be our best opportunity to strike as Mattie may be out of the safety of the prison on a raid. I need to be on that raid as well, and figure out a way to get her alone.’

********

Kettle looked up from reading a list of supplies that he had his men inventory and was crunching numbers when he heard a knock on his office door.
“Enter.” He said.
The door quickly opened and Kettle observed his brother enter with a grin on his face.
“I have news of your man inside the cop compound.” Lewis said holding a piece of paper up in his hand. It was given to me buy one of the five men you have shadowing those damn cops."
“Well don’t keep me in the dark, let’s see what he has to say.” Kettle said waving his hands for Lewis to give him the parchment.
Receiving the paper from Lewis he scanned the poor writing that his man Jonas had scribbled down.
“It says here that three out of five are no longer on the premises and it looks like it is just Mattie and the big aggressive one with the shaved head are left at the prison. The other three left to check on their individual families that are all out of state.” Kettle said while looking at the paper.
Lewis sat in a chair across from Kettle. “ It also says here that Mattie will be outside of the prison walls tomorrow. Then we should act while those knuckleheads are still missing and the female is ripe for the picking. I don’t like the idea of kidnapping anyone, but if it will result in the destruction of their imperfect idea of a safe zone then I am all for it.”
“But beware of the big guy, he hits like a truck,” Lewis said rubbing his badly healed crooked nose. “Trust me, I found out the hard way.”

Kettle lowered the paper and looked at his brother. He seemed obsessed with showing up those former police officers. Kettle was almost positive that those men didn’t even know Lewis was alive let alone try to outdo his brother; but Lewis somehow felt otherwise. Plus since the safe zone Lewis had been in charge of is probably still a smoking crater, which is a direct result of Lewis, but Kettle was sure his brother blamed the cops for that as well.
“Our team of men shadowing them will capitalize on those three being absent. Get word to them as soon as possible to be ready to move at grabbing Mattie the first chance they get tomorrow.” Kettle said. "We need to question her to find out the groups strength and weaknesses."
“I am on it.” Lewis said and got up to leave. “we will put a plan together.”

Kettle took the paper and dropped in in a desk drawer and retrieved a key ring from the drawer. Pushing back the chair he stood and walked to the door. Opening it he stuck his head outside.
“I am not to be disturbed until I tell you otherwise.” Kettle told the guards outside his office.
“I am going to be in deep prayer with the almighty God.”
Both guards snapped to attention and said together. “Yes Father!”
Closing the door, Kettle locked it and walked to the rear of his office and pulled aside a curtain revealing a door.
Grabbing a tray of leftover food off the nearby coffee table; it was mostly bones with the meat torn off and chunks of moldy bread.

Passing through the doorway and walking down the dark creaking wooden stairway into the narrow spider web filled hallway, Kettle took a minute to light a few candles in a silver candelabra. The room is in pitch black darkness, having no windows to let in the sunlight. Walking quickly to the end and unlocking the last huge solid wood door, Kettle pushed it open and looked at the several women tied to the old fashion cast iron radiators on both sides of the room.
Setting the tray of food down he turned to face them.
The faint whimpers soon turned into cries for help and begging to be set free.
“Free? Why would I set you whores free on my unsuspecting citizens to tempt their hearts with your evil slutty ways?” Kettle yelled at them.
Many of them shied away from him trying to be unnoticed.
But one of them dared to stare defiance into his eyes!
Stopping in front of her, he pushed the feeble candle light over her. The faint light showed a scantily clad woman in a ragged dress, in her mid-thirties, brown hair with hazel eyes.
Untying her bonds that fastened her to the radiator, but keeping her hands tied behind her back Kettle pulled her upright. Standing he could see she was about 5’6” and in the range of 135 lbs.
“What is your name woman?” he demanded.
“Does it really matter you asshole?” she hissed and spat in his face.
Kettle’s hand rocked across her face with a resounding slap.
The defiant woman cried out at the sudden pain and fell to the floor.
“I see that the power of Satan runs deep in this one.” Kettle said as he looked at the woman’s shapely ass from where she had landed on her chest on the ground.
“Even subconsciously you tempt the virtues of men, but what does one expect from the descendant of the Queen of whores herself; ‘Eve’ who tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.” He ranted.

Feeling the surge of holy righteousness flow through his blood Kettle jerked her upright again and dragged her screaming in protest over to the bed that had been installed down here earlier this week. Sitting on the stained and filthy bed Kettle dragged her across his lap on her belly.
Kettle pulled up the woman’s ragged dress and began to spank her like a child.
At first she kicked and screamed as he slapped her hind end for several moments.
Unfortunately the women down here have been sleep and food deprived for several days and the fight was quickly and literally beat out of her.
There was only so much resisting that she could do with her hands tied behind her back.
But sadly as the screams of denial were switched to whimpers of pain and acceptance, Kettle grew more and more aroused until he suddenly threw her onto the bed face down.
With a grunt of pain and as she still bounced on the springy mattress, Kettle began ripping his clothes off. Shaking with barely contained lust he climbed onto the bed and forced her dress up, pushing her legs apart.
As he brutally entered her from behind; his twisted mind took her screams of pain, as screams of pleasure as he thrust again and again inside of the restrained female.
Her whimpering pleas for him to stop were heard as pleas to continue, to give her more, to use her tainted flesh as he saw fit.
Soon the poor woman was half unconscious from the traumatic event, her screams turning to animal like grunts as he slammed his rock hard manhood into her.
Kettle grabbed her ass hard as his pleasure reached a crescendo and slamming his member into her violently faster and faster yet; until he finally felt himself spill his seed into her flesh over and over again.
Shaking with pleasure and sweat, Kettle withdrew from the woman and used her torn ragged dress to clean himself off; he then donned his priestly garments.
“Soon my dirty tramp you may see that after you give your soul over to power of God’s unending mercy; that you have brought all of this onto yourself. Until then we will have to try a little harder next time.”
Grabbing his candle, he left the room and locked it. Heading back upstairs his mind had already forgotten the females behind him and was thinking of Mattie’s tight young body soon being restrained by his hands.
Smiling in anticipation of the soon to be had pleasure, he ascended up to his office.
Behind Kettle, unseen and now even unheard; the several women cried and sobbed in the darkness. A few even now fighting over the meager scraps of food left behind.

********

As the darkness and it's accompanying cold creeps in after another long day of raids with Mike and the others, the former Postal worker struggles to carry in several boxes of canned food from the recent door to door raid into the old gymnasium. Finding clear floor space, Casper Flanagan dropped them next to the other supplies.
Taking a breather, Casper looked at several stacks of unopened boxes of military surplus MRE’s.
Looking around Casper asked where they had found the cases of food.
Seeing the woman named Mattie, Casper inquired where the raid personnel had located the stuff.
“Those were not from a raid. That is from Logan and Kleaner’s place from when we picked them up the other day.” She answered.
“No kidding? I happen to know of a huge supply of this stuff and most likely many other items of interest at a place I used to deliver mail to.” Casper replied.
Mattie looked at Casper to gauge if he was being serious. When she knew he wasn’t joking she said, “Come with me.”
Following her, she led him to the guard command center and located Mike inside.
“I think you need to hear what Casper has to say.” She said. “Go ahead and tell him what you just told me.”

Casper cleared his throat as Mike turned his attention onto him. “Well I was helping unload canned food into the gymnasium when I noticed several cases of what I learned were military issued Meals Ready to Eat. When I found out what they were I asked where you guys got them on the raid. Mattie said it wasn’t from the raids but personal supplies from Logan’s place the other day.”
Mike nodded his head yes and said that he knew of what he spoke about.
“But I know of a place that probably has hundreds of those cases and I don’t know of how many times I delivered many dozens of very heavy packages during my mail delivery route to this man’s address over the years.”
He suddenly had everyone’s attention in the room.
“Can you take a team there to check on this and verify if it’s all still there?” Mike asked.
“Absolutely, I dropped off stuff there every other day it seemed.” Casper replied. “UPS and Fed Ex were always leaving large boxes there as well.”
Mike seemed excited about the possibility. “Then do so. In the morning take a team of your choosing and three trucks to load if it is all there.”
“Yes sir!” Casper said.
After Casper had left, I turned to Mattie, “This could be huge Mattie…if he is right about what this man had delivered to his home, then we could focus our efforts into other areas.”
“I knew you would like what he had to say. Looks like you owe me one.” She said with an evil grin as she sauntered away.

Shaking my head to break the hypnotic rolling motion her hips were making, I got down to fleshing out my idea of thinning the ranks of the Zombies that are now steadily harassing the prison and seem to be getting thicker. My plan, while good on paper, was probably only good until first contact where Mr. Murphy (Murphy’s Law) tears up many a good plan then proceeds to wipe his ass with it.

My plan seems simple enough. I want to rig up a large multi-story building in the downtown area with flammable items and accelerants. Next lure a shit load of Zombies inside of it with bait and fill it to the brim with undead. A team stationed outside will then barricade them in from behind, sealing the entrance. The ’bait’ will then be taking the stairs to the roof, and use a zip line to rappel down off the roof to the roof of a lower building located next-door. Once the bait reaches ground level we burn them and the target building to ashes. I hope to round up and kill several hundred if not a thousand Zombies without firing a shot.
I was planning to use someone crazy as bait, but Casper has a different mission now. So my old gnarly ass will have be the bait.

Heading to my RV, I lay my tired ass on the sofa with much anticipation while Mattie emerges from her room wearing my favorite pajamas and makes some popcorn in the micro-wave. All this constant work and stress takes its toll and Mattie has told me she wants to watch a movie and to pick out something from our collection, which has grown as of late due to the several raids. Settling on the Blue ray “The Town” Mattie sits next to me on the couch with the popcorn and we pass the next two hours as regular people on a random Friday night. When the movie finishes neither of us even has the energy to crawl to bed. Within seconds I am snoring loud enough to draw in surrounding Zombies and Mattie is asleep as well.

********

After a large breakfast following a rare good night’s sleep, I ready my rucksack and my weapons (Colt AR-15, Glock, baseball bat) and head over to the large city street department dump truck that we recently went back and hooked up a large V shaped snowplow to the front of. It now sits in the center of our inner perimeter of RV’s. Tossing my gear inside I turned around and walked smack dab into Mattie.
“Trick or Treat Mike, It‘s Halloween... Going somewhere?” She asked, hands on her hips.
“Um…yea…I was going to set up a trap I designed…” I stuttered.
“So you planned on leaving me here to get pestered by dozens of people who can’t seem to take a shit without asking how to do it. I thought we had a deal!” She said testily.
“Well if you really wanted to go, I would love to have you along.” I said.
“That’s what I thought.” She said and walked to a nearby vehicle and pulled out her gear which she had hidden it in along with the Bushmaster assault rifle I had given her what seemed like years ago.
Tossing her gear into the huge truck she hopped back down, putting on a ‘Chicago Bears’ baseball cap and looked around.
“So what is this grand idea that you came up with?” she asked.

Taking a few minutes I explain what we need to do to set it up and the risky part of playing ‘dinner’ for probably several hundred hungry Zombies before it is over.
“So let me get this straight.” She said. “Your plan is to play ‘Follow the Leader’ with hundreds of flesh eating undead creatures that with one bite will without a doubt turn you into one as well?”
“That about sums it up yes.”
I knew it would irritate her so I grinned at her anyways.
“Are you serious?” She said.
Reaching into the cab of the truck I grab an item.
“But I have a bat…” still grinning and I reach out and show it to her…
With a sigh of defeat she rolled her eyes and turned and climbed aboard the big truck.
“We need to get back before it gets to late tonight.” Mattie exclaimed. “I want to pass out some candy to the kids for Halloween before they are all asleep tonight.”
“Yes maam!” I say firing up the truck and putting it into gear.

I head over to the guard command center where we keep a log of all current and upcoming raids and jot down the two raids that we will be doing simultaneously. The Zombie trap I want to set up and Casper’s search of the residence of the man who had ordered a huge unknown amount of surplus supplies through the mail.
Casper has gathered three trucks with one of them pulling a flatbed trailer and is taking a total of fifteen people to help with security and loading responsibilities.
I am taking the dump truck, a GMC Yukon loaded with volunteers, and a Honda four wheeler to use for when I am the ‘bait’.
I had one of the workers that we found that drove front end loaders follow us out of the gate and load the dump truck with scrap lumber we have piled for burning dispatched Zombies and/or heating on cold nights.
Casper and his men race ahead of us towards their destination on the southern part of town.
Before he had left I had Casper circle the area of town he was heading to on a map in case he needed help.

My truck was the lead vehicle on my convoy; if any Zombies tried to walk in front of us I had a nice steel ‘V’ snowplow that will push aside any we might come across.
Driving slowly through the downtown area of Joliet, I try to find a three or four story building that is made of old brick and is in bad repair
That gives me most of them to pick from.
I slam on the truck brakes and screech to a stop in front our local Democratic State Senator’s office.
A smile cracks my face.
“Don’t think we will be needing representation in Springfield anytime soon do you Mattie?” I ask as I put the truck in reverse and cut the wheel hard and back up to the office. “It is time to put our tax dollars to work for once.”
Mattie just rolls her eyes at me and shakes her head.
Stopping the truck I engage the hydraulics and dump the load of scrap wood onto the sidewalk. Lowering the truck bed I kill the engine and hop out as the others set up perimeter duty.
A hand full of guys walks over to carry the wood inside as I boot the door open.
While I move to the side and head back for my coiled up rope for the escape part of the plan, I see a familiar face.
“Hey, glad to see you finally make it on a raid. We can always use a new set of hands to do heavy lifting around here.” I said grabbing his arm.
The wiry man stopped and looked down at his arm then back up at me.
“I thought about what you said about not helping and figured I might as well start now.” He said.
“Well we got plenty to do, don’t let me hold you up buddy. Say, what was your name?” I asked.
The man hesitated for a split second then smiled. “The name is Jonas.”

********

Casper’s little convoy pulled to a stop outside what appeared on the outside a long string of old warehouses patched together. It was located just west of the Will County Adult Detention Facility, or in simpler terms the jail. Exiting his truck with his Chinese SKS in his hands, he motioned to the designated four man security team to set up guard. They had strict orders if the Zombie contact was too intense that they were to evacuate and try again at a later time. This was basically to be a scout mission, not a full scale raid equipped to handle a large Zombie threat, along with gathering supplies.

As Casper looked over the outer facade of the large building which took up the entire north side of the block, he looked for easy entry points.
Which it didn’t look promising; since the building was located on the east side of town in a rough neighborhood, most entry points appeared to be somewhat fortified. The windows that he could see had bars bolted into the bricks, heavy steel doors with two to three deadbolts on them.
Piles of fallen leaves have been pushed up against the building by the wind along with loose garbage such as beer cans and empty ‘Cheetos’ bags.
Finally deciding to see if anyone was inside, Casper banged on the door where he always delivered the packages to.
Suddenly gun shots rang out behind him. Spinning Casper sees a Zombie crumble to the pavement.
Knowing where there is one Zombie there are bound to be more, and since noise seems to attract them, he knew he must get the show on the road.
Signaling to the man with the breaching tool Mike had made, he struggled to bring it up and swung it at the heavy steel door that had the beginnings of surface rust.
The door rang like a church bell but gave slightly.
“Come on man; put your back into it!” Casper yelled.
Several swings with the ram and even more swear words finally succeeded in breaching the portal.

Casper entered the building and a few of his other men followed to clear the premises. A low growling sound came from a dark part of the large warehouse side of the building. Using hand signals Casper had his men fan out and one actually had brought a powerful LED flashlight and lit up the area in question.
More gun shots rang out from outside.
The noise made Casper turn momentarily to the door they breached and when he looked back he was almost tackled by a badly chewed up Zombie wearing mechanics overalls.
Reflexively firing his SKS into the assailant, he sent the Zombie sprawling back onto the concrete floor. The recoil of the SKS made Casper stumble backwards as well. Luckily the other two teammates did not hesitate and before the Zombie could regain his feet, they pumped several rounds of shotgun slugs into it, eventually pulverizing its skull.

Shaking from the intense adrenaline dump, Casper thanked the two men who resumed clearing the warehouse floor.
Looking at the bullet riddles corpse, Casper assumed it was the ‘survivalist individual he delivered stuff to; for he knew that man to be a mechanic.
As Casper cleared the area around him, he couldn’t help but notice pallets loaded with MRE’s and other types of canned foods and bags of rice, beans, and different grains.
A low whistle escaped out of Casper before he could silence it.
‘We are going to need more trucks.’ He thought. ‘This guy had a major operation, I wonder what happened? He must have had some help?’
Eventually they came to a locked room. It was unknown what was on the other side. Was it a storage room, a bathroom, or a doorway into another warehouse section?
Trying the door but finding it locked, Casper sent a man back to get the door ram.
After the man left Casper hears a female voice quivering with fear from the other side of the door. “Don’t come in, I have a gun and I will use it!”

********

Grabbing the coiled up length of rope, I turned to head back into the building then up to the roof to find a place to secure a zip line or anchor a rappel line to.
Mattie was just entering with an armload of scrap lumber to drop off inside.
“What do you think you are doing?” I asked her.
“What does it look like? I am helping with the wood.” She said. “Just because I am a female doesn’t mean I can’t do some manual labor.”
“But that is why I brought these guys. You can help me on the roof.”
Mattie laughed, “I don’t think it a wise thing to be around you while tying a knot that will save your life in a little while. Best I am not around you to distract you from your work.”
Damn she has a point. I would most likely end up tying my shoelaces together or something equally dumb.
Sadly I trudged through the late Senator’s office to the stairwell leading to the roof. Once on the roof I began looking for something to tie off the rope to…

Slowly going through the motions of carrying in armloads of scrape lumber, Jonas kept an eye out for movement. Not the shambling of the undead, but the covert movements of Kettle’s men that he knew were somewhere nearby .
The occasional gun shot rang out, taking a Zombie with it each time. Seems these men were getting to be quite the shot with all the practice they have had lately.
‘I had best be on my toes for when it goes down.’ He thought.
After most of the lumber had been carried inside, Jonas began losing hope that Kettle’s men were watching.
Exiting the building and grabbing yet again another armload of wood, Jonas finally saw movement in the window of a business across the street. Looking closer, he could see it was one of Kettle’s men signaling that they were in position and ready.

Jonas made himself look occupied until Mattie came out for more wood. She was starting to sweat from the exertion and as she prepared to get more scrap wood Jonas piped up.
“Hey, Mattie; I think I saw some stuff over in the building across the street that might be worth checking out. Can you give me a hand please?”
Mattie paused and wiped sweat off her brow and looked to where Jonas referred to.
She dropped the few sticks of wood and said “Sure why not? I could use a break.”
Mattie walked to the large dump truck and retrieved her rifle.
Jonas raised an eyebrow at her weapon.
“You think you are going to need that?” He asked
“One thing I have learned is never take anything for granted these days.” She replies. “ Come on, let’s check it out quick and get back.”
Crossing the debris filled street they approached the front door to what looked like a mobile phone business. The front door was glass and had been shattered along with the windows from some unknown previous looters that thought stealing cell phones was a good idea while the country was being overrun by flesh eating Zombies…
Seeing the display cases smashed and thoroughly looted, Mattie stopped and asked Jonas “So what are we looking for again?”
“I thought maybe there were some walkie talkies in here we might be able to use during raids or something." Jonas replies.
As Mattie is looking through the shelves with her back turned to him, Jonas fondles his knife thinking, 'I should just kill this bitch now and be done with her.' It takes all of the will power Jonas can muster to heed Kettle's warning of wanting Mattie unharmed.
"I'm not seeing any radio's here." Mattie responds, while turning to face Jonas.
"Let’s look in the back storage room.” Jonas responds. "Ladies first!"

Walking across shards of broken glass that crunched under foot, Mattie led the way to the rear of the building. Passing through a doorway into the back room Mattie stopped in her tracks.
Before her stood five dangerous, hard looking men, none had a weapon trained on her but all had them in hand.
Mattie whipped her rifle up to a shooting position. “Who the hell are you people, and what are you doing here?”
The tall lanky man in the middle stepped forward. “We were waiting for you, my sweetmeat.”
The other four laughed loudly at this.
“Jonas, go get the others. I will keep them at rifle point until you bring help.” Mattie ordered.
The tall man, who first spoke, did so again. “I am afraid that is not going to happen, lady.”
“Oh really, dirt bag; why is that?” Mattie replied confidently.
With her attention focused on keeping all five men in her vision, Mattie was taken off guard when an arm snaked around her throat.
“Because all is not what it seems whore!” Jonas snarled in her ear.
Mattie struggled mightily but Jonas’ arm was like a steel rod across her throat, and just before her vision faded from lack of air and blood, she reflexively squeezed the trigger.
The rifle round struck one of the five men in the neck.
The man grabbed at his throat and stumbled back into the wall, gurgling blood through the gaping wound in his neck.
It was a horrible way to die, choking on your own blood, but the other men didn’t even give the man a second thought.
“Someone kill that fucker already. Then I want you all to get out of here now!” Jonas said as he tossed Mattie’s rifle to the ground and slung her unconscious body over his shoulder.

The tall man walked up to the wounded subject who was staring at him with panic filled eyes. The man began to repeatedly kick the injured person in the head. By the time he stopped struggling; blood splatter covered the wall and floor.
Jonas nodded at the motionless man, “We can’t cover up this mess, and you all have to beat feet now! Move out!”
As Jonas shifted the weight of Mattie’s unconscious form across his shoulder, he stroked the inside of her leg and ass roughly.
‘Yes, Father Kettle will be quite pleased.’ He thought.
After the men gathered their meager belongings, Jonas handed the tall man Mattie’s limp body.
“Take this filthy slut to Father Kettle, and do not stop to take your turns with her!” He said staring each of them in the eye.
“He will be most displeased if he finds out she is not in the condition or clothed exactly how she is now.” He added. I know you guys fucked up your last two chances at hitting those cops, so lets not fuck this up as well.

Watching until the last man had disappeared down the alley, Jonas looked around until he found something that might work for what he had planned. Locating a stout piece of wood that would work as a club, Jonas hurried over and smeared it into the fallen man’s blood.
Satisfied with that he walked over to the door frame and violently slammed his forehead into the edge of the wooden door frame.
Reeling back from the pain Jonas fell to one knee. As his head was bent over he saw blood splatter onto the floor coming from the large gash in his head, he tossed the club onto the floor and lay down next to it.
Not a moment too soon apparently for he could hear voices approach from the other room, drawn by the gunshot from Mattie's rifle.
Soon shouting and excited voices rang out, calling for the first aid kit and for someone to get Mike.

Fastening the rope to the massive air conditioner mounted to the roof was an easy thing to accomplish. After making sure the rope actually reached ground level and pulling hard several times to determine that it would hold my weight, I began working my way to the ground floor, helping out the guys prep the building to become a Zombie bakery.
Pausing to take a drag on my water bottle, someone from the perimeter guard duty came running in, yelling that some real humans had attacked someone from our group and that Mattie was missing!
Running as fast as I could, which to say wasn’t really all that fast; I sprinted across the road to where the man who told me just ran into.
Seeing the wiry man Jonas being helped into a sitting position with a nasty head wound stopped me short. Looking around quickly I see another man I didn’t recognize with his head caved in and most of his throat missing from a gunshot.
My blood ran cold seeing Mattie’s rifle sitting in the middle of the floor.
“What the fuck happened here?” I yelled at Jonas.
Jonas winced at my yelling and said “I don’t know man. I walked back here and was hit in the head, probably by that fucking club, and right before I passed out I heard a gunshot. Thought it was me getting shot, but looks like Mattie got one of them before they got her.”
“…they? Who the fuck are ‘they’?” I yelled.
I didn’t realize I had snatched the man up off the floor and was shaking him like a leaf until I heard him saying “L-l-let g-g-g-go of m-m-m-me!!!”
Dropping him to the floor, I turn my head “Don’t let this man out of your sight.” I growled to one of my team.

Exiting the back door into the alley, I start heading down the alley looking for any clues or signs where the people went with Mattie.
A bit of bright orange color caught my eye. Looking closer, the item was on the ground near a hole in the fence. Investigating I see that it is Mattie’s ‘Chicago Bears’ cap. It must have fallen off, during a struggle or while they were carrying her to some location!
Squeezing through the gap in the fence I run ahead and in the midst of rushing ahead around a blind corner I kick myself for my recklessness; for right in front of me are three Zombies trying to get through a chain link fence gate facing away from me. Looks like they were after the ones who kidnapped Mattie!
Of course as I slid to a stop I sent up a spray of gravel and empty ‘King Cobra’ beer bottles which make them turn their disgusting faces directly at me.
‘No problem’ I thought there is only three as I reached for my rifle…which is still in the dump truck!
Shit!
…Along with my pistol.
Shit!
…And my bat.
Shit!
…And I am an idiot!

Retreating back to the fence as the Zombies groan and stumble relentlessly towards me I scan the ground and area for a weapon of sorts to use. Not seeing any I yell for help like a girl as I squeeze through the broken fence and run back to the others.
Skidding to a stop outside the room in the alley, gasping for breath, I yell for the man holding Mattie’s rifle to toss it to me.
“Huh?” He said staring at me with his mouth hanging open.
“Toss me that fucking rifle now!” I yelled as the Zombies were now about fifteen feet away and closing fast with their shambling gait.
My teammate shrugs and nonchalantly tosses the rifle my way.
Snatching it from the air I can see that they are now too close to use it as the manufacture intended. I continue my spin and slam the stock into the nearest Zombie’s head.
A large piece of the hardened plastic collapsible stock and chunks of Zombie brains scatters across the alley as the decaying Zombie is blasted sideways. I lash my boot out into a front kick and launch a second Zombie onto his back with a squishy splat.
‘What the hell?’ I thought and looked down.
Slimy ropes of intestines have wrapped around my foot and I can’t shake them loose.
The third Zombie closes in and I ram the barrel into its gaping mouth hard enough to come out the back of its neck.
Of course it doesn’t kill it as its hands claw at my face.
Sweeping my left arm across my torso I knock its hands free and knock it down with my right hand with a punch to its chest back down onto the one whose guts are still twisted around my foot.
Gaining a few precious seconds I look back into the room where my team was.
They were in the doorway watching and all had the ‘deer in the headlights’ look!
“A little help fella's?” I asked patiently.
That broke the ice as they unleashed hell on the Zombies. I am not quite sure how they missed me but I am glad!
After the Zombies were dispatched and dislodging the rotten guts off my feet, I jogged back down to where I found her hat.
‘Where the hell were they taking her?’ I thought. ‘And why were they moving in this direction?’
Standing there with her hat crumpled in my fist I looked around until I saw a landmark rising high above all other buildings in the direction Mattie’s captors were running, and looming far above nearby trees.
Son of a bitch!
Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church……those were Kettle’s men! It all made sense now. The creepy way he eye fucked Mattie when he first met her. And the strange Zombie attack when returning with the RV's followed by the attack on Dan's truck while leaving the city. We have been at war with more than just Zombies and didn't even know it!

********

Dan’s beat up looking truck, covered in dents and missing most of its grill, made its way weaving through clogged streets until they reached roads that have been cleared from previous raids.
Chris was riding next to him silently. Dan was never one for conversation before the depressing trip downstate, but now it was rare to utter more than ten words in the entire day. Dan didn't even want the CD player on. The small infant they picked up had thankfully remained quiet. Chris thought Dan may have thrown both of them out of the truck if the little guy had started crying again.
Silence makes for a boring road trip, to the point Chris hoped Zombies would make their presence known. Luckily the trip downstate and back didn’t disappoint them in the least bit in that department.
Chris looked over at Dan with his peripheral vision, quite worried about his mental state.
After seeing his family’s cabin in ruins and finding that his own brother was cursed to end up as a Zombie, Chris knew without a doubt that Dan had momentarily given up. If Chris had not been there he was positive that Dan would have accepted the infectious bite from the rotting shell of flesh without a struggle.

Now several days later he was still nervous that Dan might want to go out in a blaze of glory and get him killed because of his recklessness! Every bridge they crossed he was afraid Dan might steer the truck off the edge. Dan has slammed the front of the truck into so many Zombies and debris in the roadway that they have lost all the armor that they had installed to the front. The truck now had a very bad shake to the steering whenever it got over thirty mph and pulled badly to the right.
But his nervous nightmare road trip was almost over as Dan eased his truck over the Cass Street bridge onto the east side of town.
‘We just need to a cross few more streets, and then a straight shot to the prison and rest.’ Chris thought with anticipation.

Suddenly the truck made a hairpin turn to the left and skidded to a stop. Dan slammed the gear selector into park and got out.
“Dan, where the fuck are you going?” Chris yelled from the truck cab and then saw the building they had stopped in front of was the pawn shop.
Dan turned his head and said over his shoulder, “My grand pappy’s pistol from World War II is in that goddamn building! It is the only heirloom I have left from my entire family, and I am not leaving until I have it back! Now you promised to help me retrieve it so get your ass out of the truck or so help me God I will open the door with your head!”
Maybe Dan had a point that Chris had promised to get his pistol back, but it was more like the crazed maniacal look in Dan’s eyes that made him scramble for the truck door release handle.

Chris glanced into the back seat and saw that the baby boy was still asleep in his car seat. Chris then got out of the cab and began to dig for tools in the truck bed as he heard booming sounds of what probably was Dan futilely kicking the pawn shop’s front door.
“Hold your horses you damned fool! I got some tools that will help.” Chris yelled.
Dumping the pile of equipment to the ground, Chris grabbed Dan’s left arm as he continued to kick the door.
“Hey asshole, you watch for the living dead and I will get us inside.” Chris yelled to get through Dan’s crazed mind.
Dan stared at Chris breathing hard for a few moments then stalked back to the truck without a word and grabbed his assault rifle.
Shaking his head in frustration, Chris knelt down, put on the tinted safety goggles and picked up the acetylene torch and the striker; quickly got the gas to the proper metal cutting flame. In a short time Chris had a shower of sparks flying as he cut through the locking mechanism of the steel door.
With a metallic clang the door popped open from being slightly dented by Dan’s kicking. With the pressure relieved from the lock being cut off the door literally flew open.
“I got it Dan!” Chris yelled as he cut the torch’s flame off, and was promptly trampled over by Dan who literally walked up Chris’ back from where he knelt in the doorway.
Looking up at Dan’s backside as he picked himself off the ground he heard glass breaking inside.
Dan was breaking open display cases searching no doubt for the pistol.
“Say Dan… the pistol is probably locked in the vault.” Chris said looking at a huge steel door back near the business’ office.
“Why don’t you look for the keys somewhere?” He added.
‘I have got to get his mind on something useful.’ He thought.

As Dan tore through the desk drawers and cabinets of the office, Chris walked over to some of the display cases. Looking around and finding a large duffle bag, Chris began to load it with handfuls of diamond rings, necklaces and other semi-precious stone jewelry.
Checking on Dan’s progress of locating any keys and judging by the sounds of objects breaking and swearing he is going to guess he has been unsuccessful at this point.
Moving over to another display of coins and different types of monies, Chris calmly dumped tray after tray into the duffel bad as well.
‘Eventually society will get back to some sort of barter or currency. A man can’t go wrong with gold and silver. Plus, with the huge diamonds on these rings I should be able to barter with the girls.’ He thought with a chuckle.
As he was finishing up with the looting, he heard Dan yell “Enough! Let’s rip that door apart with the torch!”
“I don’t know Dan, we have no idea what is inside.” Chris warned him.
“I know all I need to know what is inside there!” he growled, “My grand pappy’s pistol is behind that door!”
“Fine, whatever; I need you to at least stand back and give me some space to work with here.” Chris said.
Grudgingly Dan stepped aside as Chris put on his tinted goggles and got the gas torch up and roaring with flame once again. Studying the door he looked for the locking points in the door to figure out what needed torching without burning the place down in the process.
Slowly the hot blue flame bit into the steel door. There were three deadbolts on this bad boy, and he hoped that there was enough gas left in the torch tanks to cut it open.

After the first deadbolt was cut through, Dan’s foot flashed over Chris’ shoulder, scaring the shit out of him.
Looking back at Dan Chris replied “Do you mind?
Growling something unintelligible Dan backed up a few inches.
Getting to work on the next deadbolt, which was even slower; ’Must be some sort of hardened metal.’ He thought.
As that lock was torched through, Chris sees a large blade zing past his left ear and wedge into the door frame.
“What the fuck man? You could have taken my ear off!” Chris yelled.
Dan, holding his machete in his hands didn’t even look sorry as Chris scolded him.
“Just get on with it.” He growled pointing at the door with the big knife.
Sighing, Chris went to work on the last deadbolt area. This one looked intricate, so the best way is probably cut the entire area out of the door.
Kneeling down to get a better view of the lock Chris couldn’t wait for this to be over with. Sweating profusely from the heat of the torch and the hot molten metal, Chris began the slow process of getting the steel up to temperature to cut.
‘He is really starting to piss me off with being so impatient.’ He thought as he worked saying nothing. ‘Worse than a kid at Christmas time.’

Finally the lock has been cut through; as Chris sat back and took off his goggles, he was about to let Dan know he was successful when Dan roughly pushed Chris aside and pushed the vault door open with his left hand.
“Goddamn you idiot! Can you at least wait till I move?” Chris yelled. “I haven’t even turned off the torch!”
Dan looked back at Chris still holding the door open with his left hand, “Sorry Chris I have been waiting way too long to be reunited with.... aarrgghhhh!”
Dan jerked his arm out of the vault room…dragging a Zombie with it still attached to his left hand by its teeth!
Chris, holding the still burning acetylene torch in his left hand, drew his pistol with his right and blasted the pawn shop t-shirt wearing Zombie point blank in its head.
Even as the Zombie dropped to the ground, without hesitation, Dan laid his badly mangled hand onto the display case with the injured part hanging over the edge.
“Oh shit, oh fuck, shit, shit, shit!” Chris said staring at his dear, even if somewhat an asshole friend.
‘I am going to have to kill him before he turns.’ He thought
With a roar of rage Dan raised the machete high and swiftly brought it down upon the bitten appendage.
‘Holy fuck,’ Chris thought, ‘he cut his own hand off!’

Screaming with pain, Dan spun around, blood jetting from the amputated limb and snatched the still burning torch out of Chris’ numb fingers. Jamming the heavily bleeding stump into the flame, Dan cauterized the wound with the torch!
Howls of anguish and screams ripped from Dan’s throat as he fell to his knees from the pain, all the while still burning the wound shut.
The smell of burning meat filled the pawn shop as Dan finally finished and shakily handed the torch back to Chris who then shut off the flame.
“I thought I have seen it all…did that just happen?” Chris whispered.
Struggling to his feet, Dan leaned heavily on Chris then pushed him away. Stumbling into the storeroom, Dan disappeared from sight. Chris was more in shock than Dan was apparently!
A minute later Dan reappeared with a dazed look of victory, holding his grandfather’s pistol in his remaining right hand; shoved it into his waistband and then promptly passed out… Leaving Chris with a full grown man to carry back to the truck and a baby that woke up from all the screaming and started to cry. Chris wanted to cry himself.

********

Stephen breaths a sigh of relief as the familiar sight of Joliet comes back into view. He had made good time on his return trip, and let Amber stay sleeping after she had dozed off on his shoulder. It felt nice to be back. He had assumed the worst regarding his family prior to the trip home and saw nothing that changed any of that. Everyone alive today has lost someone, Amber had said, and it was true. Crossing the river into the East side of town Stephen can see that the stronghold held by Kettle in the downtown are is as strong as ever, with new and larger barricades.
'I wonder how long they will hold out?' He asks himself. 'Without permanent walls I don't think they will make it in the long run. I need to ask Mike if he knows anything about what that weirdo's been up too.'

Raising the lever Stephen guides the truck off of the tracks and the sharp bumps awakens Amber from her nap. Rubbing her eyes she sits up and looks out the window.
"Home sweet home." Stephen says.
"Thanks for getting us back safely." Amber replies with a wink. "I had a great time! and your shoulder makes a pretty firm pillow!"
"Anytime sweetheart." Stephen replies.
"I may just take you up on that." Amber says with a grin as the prison comes into view. "I need to get cleaned up and see how my uncle is doing, what are you going to be up to?"
"I'm sure there will be a list of chores with my name on it but come see me later tonight if you can? Stephen responds, slowing the truck as guards thin the few Zombies out who have gathered by the gate so the doors can be safely opened. He is impressed as one particular guard manages to hit two Zombies in the head with the same bullet. It helped that the first Zombie was formerly a tall man and was standing directly in front of a short older lady who took it right in the forehead, leaving a red mist on the pavement.
"Looks like Logan or Kleaner is showing off again." Stephen remarks. "Those boys have been getting plenty of practice."

The gate opens and Stephen pulls the truck in and continues until he stops in front of Ambers camper. He exits the truck and grabs Ambers bag and sets it on the steps to the camper. Amber approaches and leans in for a hug and kiss when they are both distracted by a vehicle honking at the main gate which had just closed and was now reopening. When the gate is open just enough for a vehicle to slip through the crack, Stephen recognizes Dan's truck as it tears into the compound and races towards the infirmary camper.
"From the looks of that that truck, they must have run into some problems!" Stephen yells to Amber as he runs towards the truck.
"What happened Chris?" Stephen asks as Chris exits the driver door and goes to the passenger side where Stephen can see Dan slumped over against the dashboard.
"And why is there a baby in the back seat?" Amber asks as she peers into the truck.
"It's a long story, but could you take the baby until we figure out what to do?" Chris asks Amber. "I need to talk to Stephen for a minute."
"Sure." Amber says and grabs the baby and the diaper bag from the truck. "I'll catch up with you later Stephen." and walks away, shooting them both a concerned look.
Turning to Stephen, Chris whispers. "Dan got bit buy a Zombie while we where trying to get that pistol of his out of the pawn shop. It was really fucked up! He cut his own hand off before passing out. I think he cut it off in time. It's been a good 15 minutes and he hasn't turned into one yet. What should we do?"
Thinking for a moment Stephen responds. "Lets get him inside and maybe cuff his good hand to a bed just in case. I'm sure if he hasn't gone over yet he is probably good to go but lets not risk it. Tell the doc what happened and let them take care of it. Losing a hand is bad enough by itself. He is going to need antibiotics and rest."
As they carry Dan inside Stephen asks, "By the way, how was Dan's brother?
Chris just shakes his head and responds, "How was your trip?"
"The same." Stephen responds and leaves it at that.

********

Casper stared at the heavy steel door. “Miss, we are not here to hurt you, if you need help we have a safe zone of sorts set up and you are more than welcome to join us.”
“I don’t believe you!” the woman yelled, “It is a trick!”
Casper sighed. “It is not a trick; we are here to help if you want it.”
“Go away!” the woman yelled.
Casper looked at the other men, “Start loading what supplies are out here. This haul will take several trips at the least and that is just what is in this section of the building.”
The others nodded and walked off to get started, all the while increasing sounds of gunfire echoed throughout the building from outside.
“Look here lady, we are not your enemy, but are on the same side fighting for our very existence from these Zombies.” He said.
He continued, “If you want to stay in there that is your choice, but you have my word that no harm will come to you if you would like to join us.”
Getting no reply Casper figured to give the woman some time and space to think about what he said, besides he had plenty of supplies to help load out here!

As the hours went by and finally getting to the last few trips before all vehicles were loaded, Casper hear the faint sounds of the door lock disengaging. Pausing in his place, Casper looked over to see the door be cracked open slightly. Seeing a wide and frightened eye look at him and the others watch him silently, Casper shrugged and took his armload out to the trucks.
Entering back inside, Casper saw that the female had opened the door and stood a pace or two outside the room.
‘Oh Lord, surely you have sent one of your own Angels down to this wretched place, for I am staring at one of them right now!’ he thought.
“Did you really mean I could join you guys?” She asked timidly.
Casper’s teeth clacked shut and realized he had been staring hard at her.
“Yes, and again my promise of safety is still good.”
As the woman slowly approached him, Casper saw that she had long flowing, if a bit snarled, red hair. She was tall of stature; if a bit thin from malnutrition, with shapely curves that made his mouth water. She looked like the girl he had seen from the rooftop of the Post Office.
Casper waved his man over and said “Take her to my truck and see that no harm comes to her.”
The red head clung to Casper’s arm, “No, you promised me and so I will stay with you!”
Just her touch made Casper’s blood sing.
“Um…ok, let’s lock up that room for the next trip back here. What is you name sweetheart? Casper asked.

The redhead looked at him with emerald green eyes, “My name is Holly, and that room is filled with nothing to eat; just a bunch of guns and stuff.”
Casper’s eyebrows arched up. ‘Guns and stuff?’
Slowly walking to the open door Casper saw rows of rifles, shotguns and stuff he didn’t recognize since he wasn’t really knowledgeable with firearms. Stacked up on pallets were cases upon cases of what was most likely ammunition.
“Wow!” He said dumbly looking at the cache before him.
“We definitely will be making a return trip back here.”

********

Seething with fury for wanting to give chase to Mattie and her captors but realizing the futility of it at the moment, I raced back to where the others were.
“Mount up, we are going to the prison to get more men and then we are going to open a can of whoop ass on some God freaks.” I growled.
As the others started up their transportation, my mind was such a raging wall of red I don’t remember the trip back until I heard the prison steel doors slam shut.
It took a few moments to pry my white knuckled grip off the steering wheel and then cut off the engine to the dump truck.
Climbing down from the truck I see Stephen heading my way. It appears that he has made it back from Wisconsin in one piece.
“Hey Mike, how did your ‘trap’ idea work?” Stephen asks. “I heard from Logan that you had some fancy Zombie killing plan to try out?
“I haven’t had the chance to try it yet!” I said grimly.
“You don’t look happy to see me.” Stephen jokes. “Not even a hello, glad to see your still alive. Or a ‘how was the trip?’ Well I put down some shit heads dude, wait till ya hear the story! And I got other news as well, in regards to Chri.... ”
“I’m not in the mood man.” I dryly interrupt. “Mainly because Mattie has been kidnapped and taken captive by Kettle’s men.”
Stephen’s eyes bugged out, “What the Fuck!?!” he yelled.
Giving him the cliff notes version of what little I know happened, Stephen began firing questions at me.
Putting both hands up in defeat I said, “I don’t know bro, you will need to ask those questions to Jonas,” pointing at the man who was being helped into the field hospital trailer.
“He was there when it went down,” I said, “I need to suit up for the raid on the church bastards.”

I left Stephen behind as he went to question Jonas. On my way to my RV I noticed Dan’s truck was back as well. It was beat to hell with many missing parts. The poor truck didn’t seem to have a spot that wasn’t covered in blood and gore and dents as well.
‘Must have been a wild ride there and back…’
‘It’s good they returned though,’ I thought, ‘we will need the crazy bastards help on this one.’
Entering my RV, I began to pull out my SWAT gear for the assault.
Looking out at the darkening sky as night slowly fell; I felt that it was an omen.
Picking up my Mossberg shotgun I racked a shell into it.
‘Take what is mine and I will burn the world to get it back!’
Feeling the anger surging like waves hitting the shoreline, blood pounding in my brain, I look towards where I knew the church would be.
“Hold on Mattie, help is coming.”
In the distance the men at the guard towers fired repeatedly at approaching Zombies drawn in from our returning vehicles.....

********

Slowly Mattie clawed herself awake. For some reason she couldn’t see nor moved her hands.
It was several moments before she realized that her hands were tied to most likely a chair as she was in a sitting position, and that there was a cloth bag over her head.
“Mmmppfff-Hhufff!!”
…and there is a gag over her mouth.
“Ah I see that Sleeping Beauty is awake.” An oily voice said.
Turning her head towards the sound, she struggled to loosen her bonds and was rewarded with laughter, from at least two people.
“Who knew that your men would actually pull it off?” a different man said.
“That is enough out of you brother, you may go.” The first voice said.
“But she just woke up,” the other man protested, “I want to see ‘her holier than thou’ attitude get crushed like a grape.”
“Brother, do not test me. I want you to leave for if she knows your identity it could hurt future opportunities.”
“Fine,” the second man said, “I hope she gets all that she deserves.”
Then Mattie heard a door shut behind her.
The original voice began to speak to others she couldn’t hear or see but could tell stood directly behind her.
“I want to commend you fine gentlemen on an outstanding fine job. It took many days to pull it off. I must congratulate you men for persevering through the trials that was put forth to battle the will power of my faithful servants.”
Mattie could tell from the man’s voice that he was moving around, most likely shaking their hands.
Something about his voice sounded familiar.
“As a reward for doing as instructed and following those instructions to the letter, I have a surprise for you soldiers of God.” He said.
Mattie heard what sounded like a desk drawer open and some keys jiggling.
“Here take these,” the man said followed by the sound of someone catching the keys. “Follow the stairs down behind this door. At the end of the hallway is a locked room. Inside the room is the reward for you four to use however you wish. Do not worry my children, the taint has been removed…enjoy!”
Soon the sound of people filing out of the room stopped followed by an eerie silence.
Mattie could hear him breathe, so she knew he was there. Is this freak just staring at her?
Suddenly she felt a hand graze her shoulder.
Then a hand brushed her left breast.
Mattie struggled and tried to scream around the filthy rag that was tied around her mouth.
The bag over her head was ripped away, revealing the man she was starting to figure out was the suspect all along.
Kettle!
“Mattie, Mattie, Mattie…look at all of the pain and suffering you have caused!” Kettle said shaking his head and sitting on the corner of his desk facing her.
“Why I bet you had no idea that a man died today trying his best just to follow orders and now he is dead after you shot him in the throat for nothing.”

Mattie tried to use some of the more interesting swear words she heard Dan use but the mouth gag muffled the words too much to be effective. Starting to walk behind her, Kettle kept talking, “So much hate, so much seductiveness, so tainted.” He said as he rubbed her lustrous long black hair.
Mattie jerked her head loose to Kettle’s laughter.
“Oh you are a fighter?” he laughed, “That is the evil wickedness coming out that we must purge from your soul!”
Iron hard fingers locked into a fist in her hair and jerked her head painfully to the left.
Tears leaked from her eyes as she cried out in pain. Kettle’s other hand snaked down the front of her shirt and grabbed her left breast hard.
“Listen up you dirty whore, I will no longer let you taint my church, my people or my community with your very presence anymore!” he hissed in her right ear.
Kettle paused to lick her neck from the base all the way to her right earlobe.
“Mmm…tastes like sin.” He said.
“What is going to happen is we are going to different location where I will be able to cleanse your soul of evil without interruption.” Kettle snarled as he began to roughly grab at her other breast.
After what seemed an eternity, Kettle quickly let go of her hair and breast, stepped back over to the desk trembling with white hot need ; breathing heavy and hard.
“I must be strong,” he said to himself, “it has to be perfect in order for Satan to be vanquished.”
‘This guy is fucking crazy!’ she thought staring wide eyed at him
Visibly restraining himself leaning against his desk; Kettle turned back to Mattie breathing hard.
“Your heathen comrades will no doubt be on their way shortly, but sadly we will not be here. I will have my men take care of them. I have recruited the most vicious men around me and now they do my absolute bidding. I am sure you will be sad that they are dead and don’t even know it yet. If you must cry do so now; in the eyes of God there is no room for weakness. Tonight you will learn the extent of your wicked tempting ways, and will pay for it accordingly.”
Kettle bent over hands on knees in front of her, “Tonight is going to be a very special night indeed.”
Grabbing her face with both hands he leaned forward as she screamed and kissed her full on the mouth right over the gag.
Quickly he then grabbed the hood and placed it back over her head.
Walking to the door, Kettle opened it and ordered the guards outside to carry her, chair and all, down to the truck waiting outside.
Watching her physically get carried out to the truck, Kettle licked his lips again.
‘Oh yes,’ he thought, ‘there is a God after all….’
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 3:39:57 PM EDT
SO fine!
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 5:16:56 PM EDT
Come on!!! I have to wait another week
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 5:17:12 PM EDT
Come on!!! I have to wait another week
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 6:51:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/13/2010 1:30:03 AM EDT by BroncoMafia]
DUDE!
Dan doing xxxxx and then xxxx . . . AWESOME!
Great writing. The build up of anger and frustration leading up to it and then the adrenaline fueled survival reflex taking over . . . great GREAT stuff.
Link Posted: 11/5/2010 9:42:23 PM EDT
Awesome!, but another week? Damn.
Link Posted: 11/6/2010 8:55:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By WalleyeSlayer:
Awesome!, but another week? Damn.


+1!

holy smokes, your writing style is intense!
Link Posted: 11/6/2010 3:59:28 PM EDT
great story!!! I am caught up in the characters so much, I hurt for Mattie right now, and want to tear apart that false priest.

Means you are doing a great job.
Link Posted: 11/6/2010 9:44:08 PM EDT
What a damn story!
Link Posted: 11/8/2010 9:44:36 AM EDT
This story is fucking fantastic!

I'm looking forward to more!

Link Posted: 11/8/2010 8:02:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AllAmerican2000:
great story!!! I am caught up in the characters so much, I hurt for Mattie right now, and want to tear apart that false priest.

Means you are doing a great job.


Link Posted: 11/9/2010 12:58:31 PM EDT
Thanks for the replies. We wanted to have Kettle be a guy that everyone could get into hating. Maybe we succeeded a little. We also usually try to leave it on a cliff hanger and this was one of our better ones. Chapter 12 is being proof read now will be ready to go Friday. Thanks for your patience!
Link Posted: 11/11/2010 12:03:41 PM EDT
Great story so far. You really have a gift for writing. Hope you already have ideas for the next one.
Link Posted: 11/12/2010 8:32:14 AM EDT
FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!!!!!
Link Posted: 11/12/2010 2:01:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hulka73:
FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!!!!!


Link Posted: 11/12/2010 2:32:38 PM EDT
Yes it is! I will have the chapter up as soon as I get back from the gym. I am looking forward to hearing what you think after you read it.
Link Posted: 11/12/2010 2:36:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hulka73:
FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!!!!!




uh quoting myself, lol

Link Posted: 11/12/2010 5:22:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/13/2010 4:32:04 AM EDT by JPD158]
Chapter Twelve: Thou Shall Not Kill
October 31, 2011
Day 35

Casper wearily exited his truck and took a pull from his almost empty water bottle. The convoy had finally made it back to the prison in one piece. As the huge outer steel doors clanked shut, Casper looked over at his female passenger who was looking around wide eyed with wonder at her new home. The raid was more successful than he could have ever dreamed it to be. All three trucks along with a large flatbed trailer were filled to capacity; and that was just food stuffs! There was the entire armory to go through as well as the piles of various gear, but that would take another trip to recover.

Looking for someone familiar to tell about the other toys that were left behind, he sees a large man yelling something, but was unable to make it out over the prison doors shutting along with the tower guards engaging the parade of Zombies that had followed his trucks back. That was an everyday occurrence now, but the guards seemed to enjoy the work.
“Hey Casper, I see your raid was successful! That’s freaking fantastic!” The large man said enthusiastically. "Look at all this shit!"
Casper stumbled as the man’s huge hand pummeled his back in congratulatory pats.
“Yea it was well worth it." Casper said. "There was enough stuff to outfit a small army. Nobody was using it and I'm glad I remembered delivering it!"
“Great job brother, if you need to find Mike, he is in the Command Center at the moment." Logan tells Casper. "I’m sure he would like to hear your raid paid off. So who is the new Mrs. Logan next to you?”
Casper looked to his left and saw that Holley had walked up to his side and was looking around nervously.
“Oh this is Holly, we found her at the place we were just at.” He said.
“She is a beauty.” the big man said holding out his hand in greeting.
Holly shied away from Logan, clinging to Casper’s arm.
“A little shy as well I see, oh well, don’t let me hold you up. Great job again locating the supplies.” Logan said as he walked off, directing the other trucks to take the goods to the gymnasium to be unloaded and inventoried.
Casper turned his head towards Holly, “Come on, let’s go introduce you to the guys who are in charge around here.
Grabbing their personal gear, Casper led Holly to the former firehouse that the group had converted into the command and communication center.
Trudging up the creaking wooden stairs to the main office, Casper could hear raised voices up ahead.
“Look, I don’t care how many of these religious nut jobs there are, we cannot wait to go get her back!” Someone is saying.
A voice of reason cut over others, “I want her back just as bad folks but if we don’t do this right, it will be a blood bath and not their blood.”
Casper entered the top floor and when he walked into the room he saw Stephen standing over a map spread out on the table top.
Over by the window stood the big shaved head man, Mike; hands gripping the window sill hard enough that Casper could hear wood creaking.
Chris was calmly loading AR-15 magazines watching them argue over some unknown raid it seemed they were about to attempt .
“Hey guys,” Casper announced as they all stopped to look at them, “I found someone on my raid I wanted to introduce you all too, and go over what I found on my raid today.”
Casper moved to the side revealing the red headed girl for the others to see.
“Holly! Holy shit, you made it!” Stephen yelled.
As the others piped up it was obvious to Casper that they already knew her.
“How do you guys know Holly?” He asked.
“Well we originally found her outside of a grocery store a few days after the virus, broke, and also she was at the city’s safe zone.” Stephen said before adding. “But we assumed that she was killed in the battle when it was overrun. What happened Holly?”
Holly, still a bit shy and timid, began to relate what had befallen her since her escape from the safe zone.

After fleeing the thousands of Zombies that poured into the safe zone perimeter, and seeing that it was hopeless to try and reach the safety of the school building itself, she fled south out of the safe zone. Moments later it was destroyed by a monstrous bomb blast. After wandering for a few days, holing up in abandoned houses, she came across some people that seemed to want to help her. Little did she know that they had a disgusting ulterior motive in store for her. All too soon, her joy of finding shelter and safety turned to horror as she was made into some demented rapist’ sex slave. Tears began to course down her face as she relived those dark days. Many days passed where she prayed for death, Holly stated, even wishing she had been bitten earlier by a Zombie, as to no longer feel pain.
At the time when she had given up all hope, she noticed that the man guarding her was no longer at his post. Taking the slim chance at freedom she escaped, and then was chased by groups of Zombies south to an unknown warehouse residence where she gained entry through a rooftop skylight and found that it was filled with supplies where eventually Casper located her. The men had fallen silent at the sickening trials this poor woman had endured, their former arguments forgotten. The lone female, the compounds’ current dispatcher sitting at the Ham radio/ and two way radio desk had begun to cry.
Casper slowly put his hands around Holly’s shoulder, comforting the poor woman.
“But I was not alone!” she cried.
“What do you mean?” Stephen asked.
”Kettle had a few other girls he raped as well, and when the guard had left it was to find and secure more women for his sick fantasies.” She replied.
“Did you say ‘Kettle’ was the man’s name?” Stephen said suddenly.

********

“Sir if you do not sit still, my stitches will not be very good and you will have a substantial scar when your wound heals.” The female medic said testily. Jonas fidgeted in his chair as the attractive woman attempted to stitch his head wound shut. It wasn’t the act of getting his head sewn closed; it was having this unclean harlot’s large chest inches from his eyes that bothered him so much. Jonas tightly kept his eyes closed and feverishly prayed that it would be over soon, before his resolve folded.
A growling voice sounded off from the darkened end of the trailer.
“Relax kid,” the man said, “chicks dig scars.”
Looking over, Jonas could see that the man who spoke was one of the men that had left for downstate Illinois earlier this week. He must have returned while he was out on the raid today. 'Good thing I took care of Mattie when I did.' Jonas thought. Jonas could see he was also pointing to the huge scar along the side of his face. Word has it that he got it from some crazed knife wielding heroin addict…
“I am not out to get myself a girl.” Jonas replied.
Dan raised an eyebrow at Jonas’ remark. “I see…”
Then Dan murmured quietly, but not quite enough that Jonas and the female medic to not hear “Guess there is one in every bunch.”
“Hey, what happened to your head?” Dan asked louder.
“Some guy used it for batting practice earlier on a raid, why are you here yourself?” Jonas asked.
“Zombie bit my hand, so I cut it off with my machete, and then burned the wound shut with a cutting torch.” Dan replied as if he was talking about the weather and showed Jonas his bandaged stump.
Jonas stared at Dan as if he was mentally unstable.
‘Jesus Christ!’ Jonas thought. ‘Here I thought I had some big stones for slamming my head into the wall, and this here man cut his own hand off!’
“Lady, could you come over here a second? I need to try something.” Dan asked.
Just finishing Jonas’ stitches the woman walked over to where Dan sat. Dan then casually stuck out his bandaged stump towards her chest.
After a few seconds the woman said “Well…what is it?”
“Wow that is really neat. I can still feel my fingers and guess what they are grabbing?” Dan said staring at the woman’s chest.
“You are a pig!” she said and with a sniff turned to walk away.
As the woman turned away, she was pinched on the butt. Turning quickly back at Dan, she saw that Dan staring at his stump in surprise.
“Phantom fingers…” he said with a shrug.
Ignoring the outrage of the woman medic, Dan leaned around her and asked Jonas who hit him in the head.
“What? Oh it was a group of big guys who knocked me out and then kidnapped Mattie, leaving me for dead.” Jonas replied.
Dan shot up out of his chair, “WHAT? When did this happen?” he yelled.
“During Mike’s Zombie trap test run.” Jonas stammered.
“Where is Mike at?” Dan growled.
“At the command post most likely.” Jonas replied.
Dan grabbed his jacket, slid his 1911 .45 back into his waistband and stomped out of the trailer without another word.
“I would hate to be those kidnappers with those men after me.” The woman said.
After seeing the anger that these men barely kept under wraps Jonas could only silently nod his head in agreement.

*********

Kettle glanced over at his brother Lewis with annoyance at all the questions, one after another.
“Do I need to give you a reason for me needing to leave the safety of the church? Just be reassured that I do have my reasons, but you do not need to know what they are. You will be in charge while I am away however.” Kettle added, “I am entrusting you to keep things running smoothly, and to be ready for any attempt of rescue of Mattie by her comrades.”
Lewis puffed his chest out. “You can count on me brother.”
‘Not likely.’ Kettle thought.
“Just try not to leave my church a smoking crater to find when I return please?” He asked.
Leaving the office, Kettle told the two men guarding the door a priority order. “If my brother fucks up bad for any reason, I want one of you to come get me at my former church ,where we first went after our escape from the penitentiary.”
“Yes Father Kettle!” the two men said together.
Kettle stared at them for a few moments, then nodded and picked up a large duffel bag near the door and exited the church. Walking quickly to the truck where Mattie was kept, he hopped in the front passenger seat.
“Take me to my former place of worship Brother.” Kettle ordered.
“Yes Father.” The driver said and put the old Ford truck into gear.
A short time later they pulled up in front of the old church a few blocks away, and still safely behind his lines, where he used to preach before being sent to prison.
‘It feels as if it has come full circle.’ He thought.
“Let’s get the woman inside; Lucifer has his talons sunk deep into this one. It shall take quite an effort to break his grip free of this one.” Kettle told the driver.

Muscling the chair with Mattie tied in it was not easy, and Mattie didn’t help either. She kept shifting her weight as much as possible trying to get them to drop her, hoping that it might break the chair thus freeing her of her bonds. Finally the driver and Kettle dragged the chair and Mattie into the church and secured the door. Lighting several candles around the altar area, Kettle then began preparing for the ‘cleansing’ of Mattie’s wickedness.
Opening the duffel bag Kettle began laying out the items enclosed within. First was a large white sheet which he laid out onto the floor. Next was a bundle of assorted lengths of rope. Following the rope were rolls of duct tape, and a bottle of prescription pills that increased physical sensations such as pleasure and more importantly pain.
Looking over at Mattie still wearing the hood; Kettle walked over and gently removed the cloth.
“I want you to see what I have installed for you.”
‘Battling against the evils of fallen angels is never a good idea without weapons.’ He thought.
Reaching into the duffel, Kettle grabbed his old worn bible with a large crucifix. Turning back, Kettle removed from the bag a complete ‘catholic school girl outfit. Complete with red plaid skirt, white shirt and tie and white stockings.
Holding it up for her to see, Kettle remarked. “I need you to change out of those man clothes and put on this proper feminine attire.”
Mattie tried to say something but was unable to talk from the gag still in place.
Kettle reached over and removed it.
Mattie worked her mouth open and closed a few times and finally spoke.
“Take these ropes off of me and I will show you what a real woman looks like in a skirt.” She said with a dazzling smile.

********

“We need to cause a distraction at their wall and insert in a different spot undetected.” Stephen said staring at our drawing of the church people’s compound. "Slip in the back door while all the action is going on at the front."
Liking that idea but unsure of the timing, I mention that if we do not secure Mattie and the other women before the assault then most likely they will kill them before we reach their location.
“What we have to do is covertly breach their perimeter and dominate them before they can act. Then we evacuate the prisoners and Mattie before harm can come to them. Once they are safely out of harm’s way, we utterly destroy the fanatics compound so we don’t have this same problem later down the road.”
“How do we manage to do that Mike?” Chris asks.
“This is what I am thinking; your input is appreciated if you see anything you would like to add guys.” As I stood there looking at each of them in turn.
“First off, the three of us insert from the north side of their encampment. Going off of Holly’s description of the church layout we need to reach the priest’s office to locate the basement stairwell that leads to the room where the women are being held. Once they are secure we radio to the assault team who then notifies two volunteers who will be gathering as many Zombies they can scrounge up with the quad runners. Once the signal is given, we use the front end loader to smash through their vehicle barrier from the south. Someone drives the short bus to the front of the church where we load the women and follow the end loader northeast where it smashes out of their perimeter at the train viaduct at Ohio and Scott Street, and get the women to safety. We then have the ‘bait’ on the quad runners lead the Zombie packs into their breached south perimeter and then escape out the other side to the north.”
Chris had a grim look on his face. “Isn’t that a bit cold to use Zombies to destroy these people?
“From what Holly said, the current residents there are not like our refugees. Most there are of the criminal elements that prefer to prey on the weak. Most of the survivors that make it there either agree with how things work there or are killed. Any attractive women are taken for Kettle’s sick pleasure. The ones not deemed worthy of him are given to his men to use as seen fit.”
Stephen looked unsure. “Still leaves a lot to chance, there are a lot of unknown factors to consider. With more time we could leave less to chance and hopefully all make it back alive.”

Growling with annoyance I cut short his argument. “Only factor you need to know Dickey is that a deranged serial rapist has Mattie in his clutches. If we do not act fast, it will be too late to save her. He will, without a doubt, rape her; mostly likely several times before he tires of her and kills her. Or worse, hands her over to his men to sexually abuse repeatedly.”
Stephen stared hard at me.
“Let’s do this.” He said. “I’ll gather the rest of the team. I am going to want at least two guards on the front end loader and four in the short bus as shooters.”
Stephen wants Logan and Kleaner to drive the quads and Eddie will operate the front end loader. Stephen walks down the stairs and runs right into Dan who is storming his direction, demanding to know what is being done to save Mattie.
Eyeing Dan’s missing hand but knowing how stubborn he can be, Stephen seamlessly inserts Dan into the role of short bus driver yet again.

Stephen quickly finds six volunteers to ride shotgun for the trip. They were not even totally sure what they were volunteering for. The word was spreading that they were going to save Mattie and that there were several other women held captive they were going to try and save as well.
A rumor spread that war had been declared against some religious cult nut jobs and we were going to wipe them out. Still another was that a cure for the Zombie curse had been discovered and they needed to go get it from a lab at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Regardless what the people getting ready for the raid had heard, they didn’t care. They would fight Zombies barehanded for these few men that gave them shelter and saved their families when all hope had been lost long ago. They owed them their lives and several returned that debt with their undying loyalty.
As vehicles were loaded and made ready, I noticed a familiar figure get into the short bus and start it up.
Veering over I see Dan sitting behind the wheel.
As salty and grim as ever but looking sweaty and feverish.
“Dan you do not look good bro, why don’t you sit this one out?” I offer.
“What are you, my mommy?” Dan snaps back. “Worry about not fucking up and getting Mattie and any of the others killed.”
“Whatever jackass; listen up!” I respond. “I need you to get Logan and Kleaner on the horn. They are the ‘bait’ on the quad runners.”
Calling the two eccentric former mall security over, I explain what I need them to do.
“Now can I count on you two to do this for me, for Mattie?” I asked.
Logan and Kleaner slowly turned their heads at each other, and then a huge grin grew on their faces.
With a loud whoop of excitement they gave each other a chest bump.
“Hell yeah you can count on us, we will not let you down bro.” Logan said still knuckle bumping Kleaner.
“Outstanding, now go get the quad runners gassed up and ready to go. We leave in 10 minutes.”
Leaving the rest of the operational orders to Stephen to look over; I head over to my huge bus RV to ready my gear for the raid.
Pacing over to the stereo, I crank it up to get the juices flowing with a little ‘Metallica’ and some ‘Five Finger Death Punch.’
Heading to the small closet in the kitchen area of the bus, I look over my current weaponry to use tonight.
Deciding to leave the Colt assault rifle, I grab my ‘Zombie killer’ Mossberg 12 gauge with pistol grip folding stock and bandolier of shot gun shells.
We will be doing some CQB (close quarters battle) inside the church. I want some knock down power.
Grabbing the shoulder holster for my Colt Commander 1911 .45, I put it on and slide the stainless steel handgun into it. I also grab the four spare magazines and top them off.
Next I loop my Ontario spec plus survival machete onto my belt.
‘Still haven’t had any opportunities to see what this bad boy can do yet, well maybe tonight we will find out.’
The last thing I grab is a medium size emergency ‘go bag’ that I load with extra .45 rounds and a few bottles of water along with a few protein bars. As an extra precaution I load some first aid supplies to it. Bandages, antibiotics, stitching needles, etc. also go into the bag.
Two small special items I have been saving for a rainy day complete my ‘go bag’. Hopefully I don’t have to use them for they are quite noisy…
‘Trying to plan for 'Murphy' is a bitch, but it is better to have and not need than the other way around.’
Finishing my outfitting, I go to throw on my old police bulletproof vest and realize I need to take my shoulder holster off.
“Shit…I am getting ahead of myself. Got to pull my shit together, can’t let my anger and impatience land me in danger.’
I would like to take my trusty baseball bat but hopefully we won’t be fighting Zombies…much.
I will take the ballistic shield however; having the added protection against handguns will be worth the added weight when we get into the church. Grabbing the shield I sling it across my back with the long neck strap, and head out the door ready to make some serious war…

********


Kettle stepped back and looked at Mattie with suspicion.
“I will let you loose of your bonds, however be assured that if you try to escape or attack, my guard here will not hesitate to hurt you in a most unpleasant way.”
“Once the clothing has been swapped you will be restrained once again for further prepping.”
Mattie looked behind her to where the large man stood guard. She looked for a way out of her current situation but did not see any.
‘I will have to play along with this sick fucker for a bit longer.’ She thought, ‘Hopefully my friends will rescue me before this asshole has his way with me.’
‘I promise to do as told; besides I need to use the little girl’s room. Wouldn’t want me to piss all over while you rid me of my dirty thoughts now would you?”
Kettle almost clapped his hands in excitement at hearing this.
‘Remember what I said, if you try anything stupid, we will forego the purifying segment and get down to the really intense ‘cleansing’ segment, with my assistants help of course.”
Mattie nodded her head in agreement and sat rock still as Kettle produced a long wicked looking knife from the left sleeve of his priestly garments and cut her free.
Rubbing the blood and feeling back into her hands, she took her time getting to her feet until Kettle tossed the catholic school girl outfit onto her lap.
“You may use the bathroom off to the right and then change into the clothes. There isn’t any water to flush but that is the least of your problems.” Kettle said.
“Take her over and make sure she doesn’t leave your sight, even while taking a piss.”
The hungry look in the guard’s eyes made Mattie shiver with dread.
The burly man grabbed Mattie by the arm and began to drag her to the restroom. The man then shoved her into the dark room and stood there with crossed arms and stared unblinking at her.
‘I guess he really is going to watch me the entire time.’ She thought. ‘However I really do have to pee.’
Shrugging, she walked over to the toilet that hasn’t worked in several years and dropped her pants to do her business.
‘At least it is really dark in here without lights, just the candles out in the main area spread faint light this far.’

After that was done, she turned her back to the guard and took off her clothes. Slowly she slid on the skirt and pulled on the shirt followed by the stockings and tie. Bending over she picked up her shoes. Straightening up she faced the guard and told him she was done. The man nodded at her, took her by the arm once again and led her back to the chair where Kettle awaited her return. The effect of the fantasy outfit she wore was plainly visible as she stepped into the candlelight.
Kettle shook with obvious need as the guard pushed her back down into the chair and reapplied her restraints.
“Yes… much better.” He whispered.
“What is with the outfit Kettle if you don’t mind me asking?” She asked.
Kettle looked at her for a few moments then answered.
“It is simple my wicked temptress,” Kettle purred, “Lucifer is a male angel, a fallen angel, but nevertheless an angel. Dressing you as an obvious woman and treated as a woman, it will weaken his hold on your soul.”
“You will thank me when this is all over, for I do this for your own good.” He said matter-of-factly. "You may even enjoy it....."
‘…This is one deranged sick mother fucker.’ Mattie thought shuddering. ‘Hope the boys get here soon, or this wacko is going to have his way with me, and possibly the guard after that as well.’

********

Setting out from the prison, we have a small three man assault team. Chris on point followed by Stephen, then I brought up the rear.
Chris and Stephen were both dressed in all black, and both had night vision goggles. I had a night vision monocular, all three sets graciously donated to us for the raid by Logan and Kleaner.
Stephen has borrowed Dan’s suppressed AR-15 for the duration of the raid. We need to infiltrate covertly as much as possible and any long range sniping will be done by him. Stephen was also carrying his SIG 220 .45, knowing that the hard hitting .45 would be better than his M9 for humans who are vulnerable to body shots. Also unlike Zombies, people shoot back and Stephen and Chris each wore their police issue level IIA soft body armor.

In the distance I can hear the roar of the quad runners fade as Logan and his buddy Kleaner begin yelling and shouting to draw in the Zombies for their phase of the raid. The front end loader and the short bus follow slowly the path the quad runners took in order to get to their pre-determined positions.
We are taking a short cut of sorts. Behind the prison to the west are a set of train tracks that run north and south through town. These same tracks also pass near the border to the church people’s area. In fact they use the elevated train tracks as a perimeter wall on the east side of their stronghold.
So in theory, all we need to do is follow the tracks to the south then scale the elevated tracks to breach their perimeter.
Slowly we followed the tracks to the south, the night vision goggles lighting up the landscape in an emerald green for Chris and Stephen. I glanced behind us to the north now and then to make sure we didn’t get company (Zombies) along the way. Finally reaching the berm we needed to scale, Chris went first slowly, crawling up the steep grassy side until reaching the top. Watching with our own goggles, we see him signal for us to ascend to his location. Keeping low, the tall dry grass crackles beneath our bodies, sounding like fire crackers going off to our amped up senses.
Peeking over the top, we can see the huge church where Kettle has set up shop. They have several bonfires around the perimeter, with several guards along each side. Farther in, there seems to be a lot of activity at the front of the church from the amount of people near it and also the bonfires they used for light. Holly had explained that she escaped the church through a side service entrance located near Kettle's office in the rear of the church.

Using the dark area we were in as concealment, Stephen downs a lone guard with the suppressed rifle. He was walking down the tracks in our direction on patrol. We then quickly crossed the tracks and lowered our selves down the other side with a rope, which was a sheer drop of twenty feet . Chris motions for us to stop as he watches something through his goggles, a guard moving away from us. Seeing the coast is clear, he rises to a crouch and sprints bent over across a parking lot, then across Scott Street.
Once in place and still undetected, Chris signaled to us to get our ass’s over to him. By the time my old ass gets to Chris, I am puffing like a lifetime smoker.
“Calm your breathing old man,” Chris whispered, “I could hear you from across the street.”
He wants calm? I calmly give him the finger.
Chris chuckled and using the shadows maneuvered around a brick catholic school building to get a good look at the rear entrance to the church we wanted.
Slow agonizing minutes ticked by and he finally returned to say there was a guard posted at the door. It was at the top of four or five steps and looked to be a solid steel door.
Hopefully it was unlocked or at least he had a key.
I signal to Stephen to take the guard out with the suppressed rifle.
Stephen nods back and slowly moves into a decent shooting position, without making himself into a silhouette. He does this so quietly and effectively, that I see the guard fall to the ground after what sounds like a loud cough. I walk over to the body to make sure he is down. He is lying face down and a trickle of blood is flowing from his chest. I lean over and grab the mans weapon, a Mossberg 500 shot gun with the barrel sawed off. It's not really any good to me and I just leave it with the body.
Moving quickly up the steps to the door, Chris turns the handle and we are rewarded with it being unlocked. Stephen and Chris file inside as I grab the dead guard and drag him in behind us.
Okay, we made it this far, I cross my fingers hoping the rest goes this well…

********

Lewis paced around his brother’s office getting more annoyed as time went by. Most of the desk drawers were locked and the ones that were not had boring supply inventory lists in them.
“What am I supposed to do when he doesn’t tell me what needs doing?” He said aloud.
‘I think I need to have a talk with him. This is bullshit, him treating me like a kid! I used to be a city councilman!’
Walking to the large door, Lewis exited the office and asked the two guards posted there where his brother had gone.
The two guards looked at one another over the top of Lewis’ head.
“He had some special work to do. He did not want to be bothered.” One said.
“Well I am going to bother him,” Lewis said angrily, “He left me in charge in his absence so I order you to tell me where he went!”
The guards looked at each other bored, and wishing they could pound this little man into the floor like a nail.
To get the dork to shut up, one of the guards pointed to the front exit of the church and said “He went out those doors, after that we do not know where he went off to.”
Lewis looked at the outer doors, “Thank you good man, I will go easy on you when I report your insubordination to my brother.” He said while walking away.
The guard looked over at the other, “What is insubordination?”
The other shrugged, “I don’t know, but that little worm is an asshole.”
The first guard nodded in agreement and resumed his post.

The three of us froze in our tracks and I had a moment of ‘Pucker Factor’ as Lewis rounded the corner in front of us. He was glancing at a clip board while ordering two smaller men following him to pay better attention.
“You men there,” he said, looking in our direction. “get back to your posts. There will be no loafing off on my watch.”
“Yes sir!” Stephen said, disguising his voice.
Lewis seemed glad that he was rewarded with obedience and continued past, lackey’s in tow, without another glance.
“Whew, that was close.” Stephen said.
“Damn right,” I said, “It was his lucky day he didn’t look too close at us.” I said as I fastened the strap holding my survival machete in the sheath which I had drawn at Lewis’ sudden arrival.
“I thought that mother fucker was dead!” Chris hissed.
“Looks like a bunch of people we thought were dead are not so.” Stephen replied. “Come on, times a wasting.”
Outside the perimeter, Dan sat behind the wheel of the bus, wishing he was with the guys assaulting the church.
‘Damn injury’ he thought looking at the missing hand he cut off, ‘could have been worse I guess, the Zombie bastard could have bitten me in the crotch!’
“Got to be grateful for the little things.” He said with a chuckle.
Behind the bus, about a block away, Dan heard the quad runners make another pass. Looking in the mirror he could see dimly a huge Zombie hoard swarming after the vehicles.
“It looks like a can of whoop ass is about to be opened on these religious nut jobs.”
Ahead of his bus sat the large front end loader waiting for the signal to start up and ram the vehicle barrier that was in front of them two blocks ahead.
“Those fools better hurry up and get those girls out in one piece.” He said aloud, more worried than he thought he ever would be after seeing his family destroyed by this damned virus. So many people he has come to care for now in harm’s way and here he sat as a spectator.
“I am going to need to fashion a fucking hook or something for this dang stump.” He growled aloud even though he was by himself. “Darned thing itches too.”

********

The hair brush slowly pulled through her thick black hair almost sensuously. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was done by a sexual predator like Kettle; Mattie is afraid to admit that it felt fantastic.
The fact that he had her dressed up as a catholic school girl didn’t make her any more comfortable either.
‘What is it with men and this school girl outfit fetish?’ she wondered, trying to distract her mind from what was transpiring.
But she has to go along with Kettle’s sick fantasies until hopefully her friends locate her. She just has to play along and drag it out, keep him distracted long as possible to put off the inevitable rape that is destined to follow.
‘Now the man is braiding my hair into ponytails…’ she thought. ‘He wasn’t kidding that he wants this to be perfect.’
That was exactly what Kettle was doing, looping the thick hair into braids. He hasn’t done it many times before and wasn’t doing a very good job of it. To try to appear compliant, she offered to do it for him.
“Need a hand with that Kettle?” she asked. “I can tell you haven’t done this before.”
Kettle paused at his braiding and looked at her hard with suspicion.
“You may do it for me, but I will be watching. Any tricks and you shall be disciplined and tied up once again.”
Untying her restraints, Mattie once again shook the feeling back into her hands. She then shook free the sloppy hair braid and combed out the tangles once again. Grasping a handful of hair, she separated them into their proper sections and began to expertly twist them into a thick ponytail. As she did so, she began to bounce her crossed leg up and down. It had the desired effect. Kettle’s hungry gaze stared at her stocking covered foot as it went up and down.
He began to pace slowly around her, not saying a word.
‘Oh my God,’ she thought, ‘Boys, if you are going to save me, now is as good a time as any…’

********

Shoving the dead guard into a dark storage closet, we set off for the office. Stephen took point with his silenced rifle, Chris followed next, with me bringing up the rear.
Entering the long dark hallway, we could see the lighted area up ahead was our target. Two guards stood outside the door. Without breaking stride as we neared the light, I hear two faint percussions as Stephen shot both guards. One was fatal, the other not so much, as he grunted and then drew in a large breath to scream his pain or sound an alarm.
Not sure which it was, but I didn’t want to find out so I clubbed him unconscious with the barrel of my shotgun.
“Check the door quickly.” I tell Chris.
Chris tried the handle and it twisted open. Ducking his head in he saw it was the office and it was empty.
Motioning to us to enter, both Stephen and I grabbed a guard and dragged them into the room. The dead one left a trail of blood but that couldn’t be helped right now.
“Lock the door Mike,” Chris said, “And let’s locate the basement door.”
It wasn’t hard to locate as it was only concealed by a set of drapes.
Slowly Chris opened the door, and seeing the stairwell was dark as coal, he signaled he was ready to move and pulled his night vision goggles down. Chris now had point again, with Stephen and I slowly making our way down the steps. With the lack of depth perception of the NV goggles, we did not want to go tumbling loudly down the steps and alert the entire church of our presence. Navigating to the bottom of the stairwell then weaving our way down the cluttered hallway seemed to take forever.

It is very difficult to covertly enter an unknown place in utter darkness, loaded down with weapons, and then negotiate a hallway packed with decades of clutter. I only tripped once, but I did stop the stack of boxes I fell into from tipping over, which is no minor feat.
The hallway had several rooms branching off of it. All of them were open however and filled with more junk. Towards the end of the hall we saw the closed door and realized we had found what we were looking for.
Upon nearing it we could hear the muffled screams of women and the grunting and laughter of more than one man.
Seeing the bright light leaking out from under the door we took off our night vision as to not be totally blind when we make entry into the room.
Allowing a few minutes for our eye to adjust, we grimly prepared to kill some ass clown rapists.
Slinging my shotgun, I drew my Colt .45; I don’t want to start slinging buckshot all over the room ahead and hurt a friendly.
Stephen and Chris do the same with their rifles and draw their handguns, Stephen his Sig Sauer 220 and Chris his M9.
Stephen wants to take Point, followed by Chris again, with me bringing up the rear. I gladly hand the ballistic shield to Stephen. Fucking thing gets heavy fast and I have been lugging it with me since leaving the prison.
Stephen takes the shield and I exhale in relief of the lessened weight. Stephen then readies himself with Chris close behind. I step forward to breach the door and I also ready one of my little surprises I brought with.
Reaching into my ‘go-bag’, I retrieve one of my two ‘CTS’ Model 7290 flash bangs. The ‘stun grenade’ as most people think of them; generates 175 decibels and 6-8 million candela light with a 1.5 second fuse.
This, in layman’s terms, is really fucking loud and bright if one is not ready for it.

Judging by the sounds coming from behind the door, the men inside had other things on their minds at the moment. Pulling the pin on the flash bang, my grip keeps the spoon from flying free. I nod to Chris that I am ready who taps Stephen who is in front of him that he is set. Stephen then nods at me that he is good to go.
Rearing back I lash out my right foot making contact with the old wooden door next to the door handle. The wood splinters from the force of the kick. By the time shouts of alarm sound off my ‘surprise’ has already been deployed into the candle lit room.
The thunderous blast of noise accompanied with the huge strobe of light was quickly followed by Stephen entering and picking his targets and letting loose with his pistol.
Chris followed closely behind Stephen with me right on his heels. I begin to peel to the right once I clear the doorway, as Chris should have done, to engage targets that were not visible from the hallway. Before I clear the doorway into the room, a loud roar comes from the unseen and still unsecured corner of the room.
Seeing Chris crumble to the floor from the corner of my vision, I cannot stop to see what he tripped over. For in front of me is a fat naked man with a shotgun, who is racking another round as he starts to swing it in my direction preparing to fire.
I double tap him in the chest and once to the head, and continue my path into the room. Seeing another man grabbing his eyes in pain from the flash bang; I round house kick him in the teeth, he falls as I turn and shoot a third in the back as he scrambled for his pistol lying with his clothes on the floor. At the same time Stephen shoots him twice in the face from the side.
The sound of gunfire and screaming women was deafening.
Luckily none appeared to have been wounded by gunfire, as I quickly scanned for Mattie.
From behind me I hear Stephen say my name.
“Oh my God….Mike…”
Not wanting to waste time I continue to search for Mattie, as many were covering up I had to pry their arms away to look at their faces.
“Mike, they got Chris…”
The finality in his voice etched with pain made me pause to look.
There sprawled on the floor was Chris.
Missing a majority of his head….
The shotgun blast I heard upon entering must have hit him square in the head.
It is a proven fact that when breaching doors on raids that the most dangerous place in the stack when entering wasn’t the first man in. It was the second or third man, because the reaction of the occupants inside the room is still focused on the door at that time.
Goddamn…
Probably didn’t even feel it, or at least I pray he did not.
Worst of all it looks to me that Mattie is not even down here!

Stephen finally restores a semblance of order and they figure out that we were here to save them, not rape or kill them. He quickly cuts their bonds and gets them freed. Slowly I walk over to the unconscious man I kicked in the face.
“What you want to do with this guy?” I asked.
One of the women separated herself, not even bothering to cover her nakedness and walked over and took the man’s pistol lying next to him.
“He laughed and raped me after I told him I was pregnant. He can burn in Hell.” She said and shot the man in the head point blank.
This of course got the women screaming again, and I slowly took the firearm from the limp grip of the stunned female. I calmly took her by the shoulders and turned her away from the gory scene. She then burst into tears as other women gathered her into their arms.
Stephen calmly but firmly took charge by insisting they gather what clothing they had, get dressed, and prepare to quickly follow us to safety.
As they did so I asked if they had seen a new girl that was brought here earlier today. I did not like the answer, for none had seen anyone new for some time now.
Kettle must have taken her to a different location…but where?

********

Lewis was mad as all get out. His brother had put him in charge, but from what he saw from everyone he met so far that authority was in name only. Everyone he dealt with held open contempt and disgust on their faces when he asked where his brother had gone off to. Being of a frail stature with little physical strength, Lewis could not back up any threats he wanted to make. The majority of the people he asked ignored his questions or just plain gave him an answer as to leave them alone. Usually the few answers were followed by derogatory name calling.
Finally however he did get a destination to where his brother had gone. Kettle’s former church he preached at before his unfortunate incarceration.
Angrily Lewis stalked towards the old abandoned church that was still nearly two city blocks away; all the while his temper soared…

Putting the finishing touches on her ponytails, Mattie secured them, with of course red ribbon…
‘This freak has his fetish planned out to the smallest detail.’ She thought.
Unfortunately she has stalled as long as she could without seeming obvious.
Kettle slowly walked around her, staring, but not saying a word.
It was nerve wracking and creepy as Hell…
“I must say, you are the picture perfect symbol of temptation my little whore.” Kettle purred from behind her.
Turning her head over her right shoulder, Mattie tried to appear as innocent as possible.
But that was kind of hard to pull off dressed as someone’s sexual fantasy come to life…
Continuing to walk around her, Kettle stopped in front of her. Literally rubbing his hands together in anticipation of what was soon to follow.
“Now my dear seductress, now we rid your soul of Lucifer’s grasp…”

********

The path back to the church office went quickly, well as quick as one can move carrying a two hundred pound corpse who used to be a very close co-worker and friend while trying to usher several starving, sobbing sex slaves up a pitch black stairwell. Reaching the office, we realized the guard I knocked unconscious was groggily trying to get to his feet. Dropping my friend carefully to the floor, I ran over to the woozy man and started questioning him to Kettle’s whereabouts.

At first the man refused to answer, but after the third broken finger and when I pulled out my large Ontario survival machete and calmly lined up the blade to his other hand; the information flew from his lips.
Apparently Kettle had wanted complete privacy while he tended to the female that had been captured. He had taken her to the old abandoned church where he used to work, located at the intersection of Ohio and Scott street.

Thanking him for his input I slammed the hilt of the knife into his head a few times to knock his ass back out. Then after tying his hands and feet, threw him down the old creaking flight of stairs from where we just came. Tumbling down the stairs he crashes to a stop at the bottom.
“Stephen, get on the horn and call in for pick up and start Phase two.” I command. "The clock is ticking!"

Logan looked over his shoulder at his buddy Kleaner on the other quad runner and then at the huge crowd of Zombies behind him, howling for their blood. If they didn’t have to drive so damn slow in order to keep them motivated to chase them it wouldn’t be so bad. But they had to move just fast enough to gather them in and keep them following without getting killed. There had to be several hundred by now, but was hard to tell with it being so dark out. Logan had to constantly check with his LED flashlight to monitor how close or far back the Zombies were.
Finally after several dozen passes he saw the signal from Dan’s position. It was finally time to lead the hoard into the church folk’s perimeter!
Yelling over to Kleaner, Logan relayed that the time to sow some destruction was now, yelling. "Kick the tires and light the fires!"
Kleaner whooped in eagerness and the quad runner engines roared in response.
Ahead of them the large front end loader began to move as well as the short school bus Dan drove.
Further up the street, the vehicle barrier loomed out of the darkness; illuminated from within by the compounds bonfires…

********

Lewis stormed into the old church where his brother was and stopped dead in his tracks at what he saw. Kettle was standing in front of the captured woman Mattie who was dressed up like some weird fantasy porn video involving a school girl.
“What the fuck is going on here?” Lewis asked. “I thought you were questioning her for information regarding the prison stronghold.”
Kettle spun towards his brother, “I thought I told you I was not to be disturbed!”
“I came to find you because your people refused to follow nearly every order I gave!” Lewis roared back.
“You will leave now and not return. I will come to you when I finish my business here!”
Mattie took the opportunity to try and add to the argument.
“Why not let your brother stay Father Kettle…he is much more attractive than you are.”
Lewis was taken aback, “What in the hell is going on here brother?”
Kettle spun back at Mattie and soundly slapped her face, making her ponytails swing from the blow.
“I see the evilness of your soul shining true.” He sneered.
Turning back to Lewis, Kettle growled again.
“For the last time brother, if you wish to see morning; you will leave now!”

Backing up slowly Lewis retreated towards the front door. Never has he seen the fanatical almost homicidal look in his brother’s eye before. Reaching the door Lewis did as told and fled the church, but once outside, ran to the north side of the church. He then quietly moved to a window which he could see between the boards that covered it in order to watch with a sickening fascination of what went on inside.
Such was his focus that he failed to notice the screams that he heard were not coming from inside the old church…

Inside the perimeter it was business as usual; which was fucking boring according to Gus and his dumb but loyal friend Kevin.
“I cannot believe we got stuck on night watch again!” Kevin bitched, holding a Remington 7400 rifle chambered in .243 Winchester.
“I know,” the older man replied, “but hopefully we find ourselves a female survivor and we can have our way with before we hand her over to Kettle’s boys. I am tired of the old worn out pussy they hand down to us. I want one with some fight left in her.”
Kevin laughed loud and hard at that. “I heard that, something that squirmed instead of lying like a corpse would be real nice right about now.”
In the distance the rumble of a loud diesel grabbed their attention.
“What do you make of that Gus?” Kevin asked.
“Hmmm, I am not sure." Gus states while blinking his eyes. "Those headlights are from them crazy bastards on the quad runners. But I can’t make out what the other vehicle is, Damn fire has ruined my night vision.”

As the two stood and watched, it became all too clear what made the noise; when without a chance to even curse their shitty luck, the huge front end loader slammed into the protective vehicle barrier in front of them.
The screeching of metal and crashes of breaking glass preceded the pain as the vehicle in front of them spun away from the impact of the heavy equipment and right into them.
Momentarily stunned, Gus struggled to hold onto consciousness. Gradually the roar of the loader and following vehicles receded replaced with an all too familiar sound. He groped the ground in vain near where he lay, looking for the Browning A-Bolt rifle he had been clutching.
“Come on kid, we got to get out of here!” Gus said trying to wiggle out from underneath the frame of a smashed Pontiac. It should have crushed his legs but with a good tire still on the axle, it just slid up his prone body.
Not getting a reply, Gus frantically looked to where he last saw his partner. His mood sank low as he noticed the limp form of Kevin crushed by a fallen compact foreign car. Now the dreaded sound he heard quickly turned into an ear piercing howl as Zombies poured into the perimeter like a flood wall giving way. Gus had to curse at the ironic events that had happened to let the Zombie to kill him be a female, that defiantly had some fight in her. She was all too willing to accept his punches as he fought in vain to keep her teeth from his flesh…

********

Dan’s school bus slowed to a stop on the north side of the church. The four guards jumped out the rear emergency exit and fanned out around the bus. Already Zombies were flooding the area and gunfire and screams could be heard in the distance, coming from Kettle's doomed men. The guards dropped the few Zombie's who had already wondered to close. While the doors were still sliding open we had the women rushing ahead to board the vehicle. The women were crying their thanks at the valiant rescue, many pausing to hug and kiss the snarling face of Dan as he growled for them to move their fat ass’s and get on board.
As the last one climbed on Dan looked at us with a raised eyebrow.
“Don’t worry bitches,” He said while staring at us, “I don’t want hugs and kisses from you fuckers.”
That was when he saw the limp form across my shoulders.
As I reverently laid our comrade onto the bus floor, I seen Dan’s jaw stiffen in anger.
“Mattie wasn’t with these girls, she is held at a different location.” Stephen said.
He rapidly explained where she was being held and that we were going to go get her right now.
“Well I am not leaving without her!” Dan said. “I suggest you two hurry, the Zombies behind us sound hungry. We will hold them off from here.”
Sure as shit, the howling did have a ravenous sound to it. Hopefully with the amount of screams and gunshots behind us, the church folk keep them busy until we could evacuate out of here. Hurrying North on foot, Stephen and I peel around the corner of Clay and Scott Street and observe a figure exit the old abandoned church that we were heading to.
“Hope that wasn’t Kettle!" I said. "I don’t want to have to hunt that fucker down amiss all the Zombies that will be arriving here shortly.”
Panting for breath Stephen says, “He didn’t have on priest robes, I don’t think it was him.”

To the west we first hear, then see the front end loader drive across Scott Street then crash through the east vehicle barrier that secured the Ohio Street train viaduct. The two guards firing at the men standing in their way.
Nearing Ohio Street we then see Logan and Kleaner scream past on the quad runners, heading back to the prison as planned. Behind them I see two of Kettle's men being chased by a hoard of Zombie's, firing handguns wildly as they ran, not hitting anything before being chased down. This place is already becoming a dead zone.
Scrambling up to the front doors of the structure, I can only pray that we are not too late…

********

The scream of revulsion and violation that ripped from Mattie’s throat seemed if anything to further his arousal.
Having her arms tied to the chair was bad enough. After the first kick had caught Kettle in the scrotum, he also restrained her legs as well; and restrained them spread open…
Kettle has been spouting some tainted form of bible verses at her while he fondled her breasts and licked at her throat. Mattie couldn’t remember what the crazy sicko was saying and kept repeating a mantra to herself mentally as to not react to his manipulations. It was going as well enough; that is until he rammed his fingers into her vagina and began thrashing them about…Unable to hold it back, Mattie screamed out her anger and helplessness to the rafters and the altar before her; the altar with the Cross of Christ on it that appeared to be burning from the reflective candle flames.

********

Approaching the double doors of the church, we hear from inside a female scream like the souls of the damned. All around us Kettle’s men are dying off and the gunfire is trickling down. In a building across the street, the repeated blasts from a shotgun light up an upstairs window. After five shots we hear a man scream.
Stephen reached it first but as he ripped open the door, I raced passed him.
Immediately inside the vestibule of the church was a single guard, looking quite panicked, roughly my size but more fat than muscle.
But that matters little to the shotgun slug that catches him in the chest and rips apart his back like a piñata. The man had little chance to see that we were the enemy, and died without uttering a word. In the process dropping his large revolver, a Smith & Wesson 625, to the floor.

As the roar of the shotgun echoed inside the chamber, I had already passed by the dead man before he finished bouncing to the floor. Ahead of me, before the altar, my blood freezes at what I see.
Kettle, that sick fucker, has one hand between Mattie’s legs and the other hand is twisting her head back by her hair. He was biting her shoulder hard enough to draw blood as well.
Kettle whips his hands free and attempts to pick up something from the floor. As he proceeds to stand up, a gunshot blasts right next to my left ear and I see Kettle spin to the ground.
Stephen stands next to my left side, and had deafened me once again with his muzzle blast.
“Really?” I asked him, gripping my left ear. “You couldn’t move a little to the side?”
“No time crybaby.” Stephen said, and then started shooting again at Kettle who had started crawling away.
Stephen’s hurried shots went wide as Kettle disappeared behind the altar area.
“Fuck!” Stephen shouted.
Running up to Mattie, I see she is alive but has her eyes shut and appears to be in shock.
Pulling my Ontario survival machete, I make quick work of her restraints. Shaking her gently I attempted to wake her up.
Nothing…must have mentally and physically shut down from the experience.
Calling Stephen over I pick her up from the chair and hand her limp form over to him.
“She is alive but I think she is in shock. Get her to the bus. I will finish this.”
Stephen tried to say otherwise but saw the cold look in my eyes. He slings his AR-15 and puts Mattie over his shoulder.
“Fine, I will get her to Dan but then I will be back for you.” He said.
Watching him until I was sure they were out safely, I turned to follow where that snake Kettle has gone.
That was when I noticed several fires had sprung up from the candles Kettle had knocked over while dodging Stephen’s gunfire.
The fires were quickly getting larger, I had better make this quick. Locating the trail of blood from Kettle’s injury, my anger grew as hot as the flames eating at my back.

********

Outside the church Lewis stood in shock as he was one second morbidly turned on by what his brother was doing to that woman, then the next second he was stunned by the arrival of those two mother fuckers, Mike and Stephen!
All the recent pain in his life he could directly relate to those assholes, and now they have shot his own brother!
Finally he has his brother back and they are trying to kill him. Maybe he can take care of Mike, as Stephen left with the woman and the big fucker is currently stalking Kettle, who appears wounded. All while he stands there like some dumb bystander!
Silently Lewis crept to the front door; he noticed Stephen was now running down Scott Street south bound, with the woman slung over his shoulder like a duffel bag. ‘Now was the time!’ he thought.

Opening the door he entered and almost tripped on the corpse of the guard they killed earlier. Lewis shrugged because it was no big loss; the guy treated him like shit anyways, but did stoop to pick up the large stainless steel .45 revolver handgun the idiot had dropped, pausing just long enough to make sure it was loaded. Now armed and with greater courage, Lewis quickly jumped over the increasing flames and followed where the big bastard had gone…

********

Stephen is slowed down by carrying Mattie to safety while watching all the while for approaching Zombies. With few of Kettle’s men left alive, he is starting to gain the attention of several. Drawing his .45 with one hand, he shoots the five closest to him, emptying his SIG in the process. Stephen looks up and sees Dan approaching rapidly with the bus. Skidding to a stop and almost hitting him, Dan rips open the bus doors.
“Get the fuck inside! We got to get out now!” He screamed.
“I can’t!” Stephen screamed back, “I got to go back for Mike! He left to take out Kettle who is wounded!”
“Hey asshole, look behind us!" Dan says. "Get in now or I'll just take off and try to draw them off with me while you find some cover."
Stephen leaned back and looked back to where Dan had just come from.
Several dozen Zombies were in hot pursuit with their stumbling gait of theirs.
“Fuck it!” He yelled, “I cannot leave Mike, we already lost one of our family and I refuse to let another die! Get back to the prison. We will see you all there!”
Not waiting for a reply, Stephen gently lays Mattie on the bus steps and once again ran back towards the church as Dan sped past him in the bus.
Lungs burning from the long day’s exertions, Stephen saw with dread the smoke and flames that were already starting to work their way out from the boarded up windows. He put a fresh magazine in the .45 before holstering it and un-slings Dan’s suppressed AR-15, checking the magazine for rounds.

Some of Kettle’s perimeter guards had managed to escape, but most died in the street, firing wildly into an avalanche of Zombie’s. A block over from where Stephen is standing, Kettle’s few remaining followers are stuck in an abandoned house, waiting for Kettle to provide a miracle. The four men are armed with a Taurus 9mm, Glock 30, and two 870 shotguns with very little ammunition between them. The man with the Glock is trying to hold the front door closed against the pressing hoard while the others fire wildly out the open windows.

Their miracle does not come as several arms finally reach through the doorway, and pry the heavy door open. Falling back, the man does not warn the others that the house is compromised and simply shoots himself in the head. The other men are not even afforded that luxury, and are eaten alive.

********

Inside the church, I am really trying not to cough from the smoke to give away my location. Still following the thickening blood trail, I finally catch up to where Kettle has dragged himself. By the looks of it, Stephen’s entire second round of shots did not all miss as I first had thought. Kettle had a left shoulder wound which has drenched his robe wet with blood and another in his right thigh. He was trying to apply a pressure bandage to his leg when I stalked into the room.
“What’s the matter little man? Where is your God now?” I growled to the despicable man before me.
“You!” he gasped, “You have brought ruin upon me; all because of some worthless whore who deserved nothing less!”
Walking forward, I toss my shotgun down wanting to do this by hand. I grab his robes and pull him upright. I don’t even notice that Kettle’s blood is drenching the front of my shirt…
“Tell me something,” I say as the increasing flames behind me start to brighten the room, “does your broken arm hurt?”
The strange question catches Kettle off guard.
“You fool! My arm isn’t aarrgghhhh!” He screams as I slam my forearm into his elbow that I have locked into a straight position.
With a sickening crunch his elbow flexes the wrong way.
Kettle’s face goes white with pain and falls to the ground, disbeliefs etched to his face as he stares at his mangled arm.
Thinking of how I last saw Mattie being violated by this man, I drop all two hundred and twenty pounds of my pissed off frame onto his groin with my knee. As all air rushed out of his body and he began to draw a ragged breath back in to scream again, I wrapped both of my hands around his head.
“Look at me you sick fuck! I will be the last thing you see before you die.” I roared into his face.
Kettle, clearly about to go into shock from pain and blood loss, mutters weakly “Go to Hell.”
With a surge of strength I flex my shoulders and twist my arms, snapping his neck. As Kettle's body goes limp, I drop it and slowly stand and mutter..... “I'll see you there...But.....You first bitch…”

********

Scrambling through the smoke and flames, Lewis made his way to the rear of the church. Finally he made it to the room where his brother and that asshole cop Mike were located.
Lewis froze as he observed the big man break his brother’s arm and then his neck without even hesitating.
Stunned with seeing his brother killed by the very man who broke his nose and brought about the demise of his ‘safe zone’, Lewis shook with the pain of loss and rage.
Remembering the heavy weight in his right hand belonged to the large revolver he was holding, Lewis whipped it up in anger and pulled the double action trigger.
With the deafening first blast, he saw the accursed man stumble and with the righteous feeling of vindication emptied the revolver at him…

********

From behind me some jerk off just hit me with a sledgehammer in the back. Twisting to my right from the impact, I feel another hammer slam into my sheathed blade tied to my leg. Pain ripped across my thigh as it spun me around and onto the knee of my injured leg.
Looking up I see a figure backlit from the flames that were increasingly devouring the church.
I could not make out the face due to the light and the billowing smoke.
The armed assailant screamed in rage and emptied his weapon at me.
Two more shots strike me in the chest, another hammer slams into my head and one missed, I hope at least, as I am slammed back onto to the floor.
Faintly I hear the clicking of the hammer of the pistol clicking on spent rounds, followed by severe coughing and curses.
The figure rushed to stand over me and stared at the blood covering my chest and face.
He snarled a curse at me and kicked me hard in the ribs.
Luckily I was already passing out beyond the ability to react…
Euphoria burst through Lewis’s brain!
He fucking did it! He killed that asshole and avenged his brother’s murder!
Standing there with giddiness he was suddenly wracked with a massive fit of coughing.
Bringing him back to reality he sees the passage that brought him here was totally engulfed in flames.
“Holy shit, time to gloat later.” He said.
Pausing to close his dead brother’s staring eyes, he ran to a side exit that was boarded over. It took several frantic kicks but was able to breach an opening to crawl out of.
Once outside he saw the chaos that was his second safe zone; once again over run with undead.
“Those two are like heralds of destruction that which ultimately follow in their wake.” He growled. “Well at least one is down, several to go.”
And with that fled the oncoming Zombies and encroaching flames of his brother’s pyre…

********

Stephen screamed his name yet again, “MIKE!”
Covering his face with a damp rag, he ventured as far as possible into the raging inferno.
Futilely he screamed again, “Mike, where are you?”
Chunks of falling burning wood made him retreat further towards the entrance.
“God damn it! Answer me you asshole!” He screamed again.
The waves of heat started to make his hair smoke and his clothes singe.
Finally admitting defeat, Stephen left the burning structure with a heavy heart.
He has lost two of his closest comrades in the span of one hour!
This wasn’t a damned video game with a start over button, or with extra lives; this was the real shit.
Retreating outside and evading or killing the few Zombies that braved the flames, Stephen watched from a safe distance as the fire finished consuming the structure…

********

The pain from attempting to draw a breath dragged my ass out from the blackness. The heavy smoke billowed around me and was filling the room as I struggled to sit up.
Felling my head throb made the room spin. I felt my temple and could feel the stickiness of congealed blood.
No entry wound, just a long gash.
Must have narrowly missed and dug a furrow in my skull.
Or my head was so hard it ricocheted off…
Either way still hurt like a dancing troupe going to town on my head.
Struggling upright I manage to stay low and feel the soreness from where the man had shot my torso, front and back.
I finally outsmarted Murphy, the fucker luckily managed to hit my bulletproof vest.
Hurts like hell but none penetrated.
Staggering towards where I can feel cool air from, I fall to my knees. Crawling blindly I head to the coolness…
Sudden pain jerks me awake and it was from a burning piece of wood had landed on my arm, catching my sleeve on fire.
Slapping out the flames I wonder how long I had passed out.
The roaring sound of the flames behind me spurs me on as I also hear the structures roof begin to cave in.
Suddenly I fall through an opening into blessed fresh air!

Struggling to hold onto consciousness I force my anger and pain into an unstoppable determination to place one foot in front of another. Untold hours or more likely minutes pass as the inferno retreats behind me, until I find myself before an open doorway.
Dragging my exhausted body inside and falling to the floor, I manage to shut the door and slump against it, hoping that my not so dead weight will hold it shut if any Zombies or humans try to open it.
Once again as the blackness of tunnel vision creeps in, I hear my watch beep, it is past midnight and is now November 1’st, which happens to be my birthday.
Slurring badly as my body shuts down; I manage to chuckle dryly, “Hu-h-happy b-b-birthd…..”

Outside in the dead of night, a fire rages unchecked as a cool wind blows in from the north. As the smoke and sparks from the structure fire spiral upward, they are pushed to the south over the heads of hundreds of howling hungry Zombies that search tirelessly for flesh to devour. All too soon the last shrieks of victims fall silent. The only sounds remaining were of the crackling of the burning building and the moaning of the damned.
Link Posted: 11/12/2010 5:29:33 PM EDT
Chapter 12 is up. Let me know what you all think. I am going to be out of town next week and won't be able to put 13 up until Sunday. 14 will be done so to be back on track by the following Friday. Still on pace for 18 chapters. So twelve down, six to go!
Link Posted: 11/12/2010 8:58:49 PM EDT
holy bullvagina batman...........this shit rocks ass solid
Link Posted: 11/12/2010 9:02:54 PM EDT
It is another good chapter. Keep up the great work
Link Posted: 11/13/2010 1:29:18 AM EDT
That was worth waiting for
Link Posted: 11/13/2010 9:03:48 AM EDT
FUCKING AWESOME!
Link Posted: 11/13/2010 3:37:13 PM EDT
Good Work!!!!!! Keep it coming.

AKASL

LIVE ZOMBIE FREE OR DIE
Link Posted: 11/13/2010 5:54:51 PM EDT
Great story. Thanks



Ron
Link Posted: 11/13/2010 6:08:42 PM EDT
wow great chapter bro



since you aren't going to be around till Sunday, I say just post 13 now! LoL



no really, just post it
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