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Monthly Archives: November 2014

28th November

I spent last night casing the train, its inhabitants and their routine out. Today I kept my distance but followed along as I formulated my plan of attack.

I had to do everything in my power last night not to go storming in, waving my rebar around, and hope to hold them off long enough for Adam to escape. “Then what?” I kept telling myself. Whatever the plan it has to include Adam and me at a minimum escaping. It would be nice to help the others trapped on that train, and avenge some of their misery by taking the gang out in the process, but those are secondary.

A plan a plan, got to come up with a plan.

Inventory: t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, jeans, hiking boots, pink backpack, 3 foot long (1.5cm diam) rebar, 2 cans of possibly rancid kidney beans, 6 crab apples, 1 green tomato and a knotted nest of fishing nylon I found and thought might come in handy.

Now, if only I had a terrorist’s guide to making a tomato bomb. I’m sure I’ve got the ingredients for at least half a dozen grenades and possibly an Uzi.

A plan a plan. Something is there. I need to stop writing and keep thinking. A glimmer of a ridiculous and deadly plan…

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Posted by on 28 November in Zombie Philes

 

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26th November

Today’s journey, following the railway tracks, took me into a pretty large town. This must have been a fairly busy hub, as the train track branched out in several different directions shortly after the station. It took me hours of tracking and back-tracking to make sure I followed the right track, and the direction the train would have gone given the way the points were switched.

I’m sure breaking into the switching box buildings and getting the tracks all pointing in the chosen direction was something that took the gang a while each time they came to a station like this one, so I’m not terribly concerned I have lost too much time, but it’s still frustrating. Especially when I’m a few miles down a side track (literally) and starting to have doubts that I’ve gone in the right direction.

It wasn’t until I came around a corner in the track and could see past the overgrown hedges on the side that I saw the back of the last carriage slowly trundling along. I’ve found it!

Inching along the track at less than walking pace, the gang is making as little sound as possible, and also being careful that they don’t run into fallen trees or other hazards in the easily derailed train. A derailed train would be nearly impossible to right again without the essential tools and knowledge, so they take it very carefully as they go. Well, what hurry are they in anyway? It’s not like they’re late for a brain-implant appointment. The carriages themselves are high enough off the ground to provide relative safety, and the mobility simply adds to that safety. Just by moving along slowly, you can almost guarantee to not come under attack.

That is until I catch you…

 
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Posted by on 26 November in Zombie Philes

 

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24th November

I made an interesting discovery today.

Still on the trail of Adam and this train, I came to a small station in the middle of nowhere. Just two platforms, one North, one South, linked by a rickety overhead walking bridge. On the platform was a swarm of Zees. They were all hunched over, feasting on something fresh. There must have been about 8 or more, looking like vultures, squabbling and grunting as they each chewed on various parts of the carcass.

Armed with only my rebar, and little else, I didn’t really have the option of fighting them off. They would have had me for dessert if I tried to take them all on at once. I couldn’t really find any easy or safe way to deal with them individually either. The reason I wanted to find out who they were munching on was because the chances were it was somebody from the train. I was fairly confident it wasn’t Adam as it was a little larger than his 6 year old frame, plus there was evidence that they had put up a good fight, given half a dozen dead zoms littering the platform around them.

In my frustration I threw a sizeable rock at the writhing pile. The shot was slightly better than I intended and the rock smashed into the head of one of the feasters. It was knocked over and then got up to look around at where the offending rock had come from. I was hunkered down behind an overgrown planter box on the platform and it didn’t see me. As it looked away though I made out a pair of brown work boots I had seen up close before. Kyle.

So they finally got the story out of him about how I had escaped. Finding he wasn’t up to par, the gang probably decided to let him go. Whilst this has the obvious benefit that there is one less to attend to once I catch up with the slow-moving train, it does mean that I wasn’t the one that got the pleasure of doing it myself. Too bad. I won’t be mourning him for very long.

I’m also running out of scrap paper to write these entries on. With any luck my diary is still with my things on that train. I’ll get around to transferring these over to the diary at some point. I only hope it won’t be too long before I’m reunited with my gear, and most importantly my boy.

 
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Posted by on 24 November in Zombie Philes

 

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19th November

I still don’t have a blind clue what I’ll do when I catch up with them. They took all of the weapons and ammunition that Adam and I had managed to gather from the army depot. Somewhere in the bowels of their armoury carriage, along with all our guns and other loot, is my handy dandy machete. And I now find myself travelling with a child’s pink backpack with the few bits of food I have managed to scavenge, and a bent piece of rebar reinforcing, about a metre long and very handy for swinging and poking dead people with. I don’t even have my diary, and all this is being written on scraps of paper I find lying around. Other than this, and a deep seated hatred for anybody on the first two carriages of that train, I’m completely without a plan, or the means to carry one out.

But that’s by the by. We’ll cross that narrow, wobbly, suspension bridge over a great yawning chasm when we come to it.

So which option did I choose? Behind curtain one: A no-expenses paid trip the length of the train to be shoved through the door of the last carriage containing any number of reanimated dead people wanting to strip the flesh off my bones. Curtain number two had a carriage of bored maniacs, heavily armed, rippling with blood-encrusted muscles, simply itching to sink sharp objects into my fleshy parts for the pleasure of hearing me scream – oh, and then a trip, either dead or dying, to the last carriage to be chewed on by undead anyway.

Of course I’d go for Option One. Who wouldn’t? I mean, the inevitable excruciating pain as foul and rotting ex-humans rip chunks of your flesh from you at least is predictable and a known variable. Those psychopaths next door, they had the combined mental capacity of a brussel sprout, but still the reasoning power to invent slow and painful methods of making the pain last and last and last. If option three were a bullet, I would have gone for that, but I wasn’t given the luxury. The words spilled from my mouth with very little thought, other than for Adam. He was my primary concern. If I could go to this death knowing he would be safe and looked after, I would have unlocked the door and stepped into that carriage myself willingly. Without that guarantee, the only hope I had was to fight my way out. “Third Class.” I muttered.

The door behind me opened and Kyle stepped back in. I didn’t even turn to know it was him. The stench hadn’t left my nostrils since he had left not 10 minutes ago. He grabbed a fist full of the back of my shirt and wrapped a huge arm around my throat. The bicep bulged and forced my chin up towards the ceiling of the carriage. The lacquered wood there glistened and reflected back my blood-caked face, the eyes darting around in terror.

The Boss simply said “Third Class it is.” And I heard a grunt of disappointment from Kyle and a waft of hot air hit my ear and invaded my nostrils. With that he shoved me forward and I stumbled past the Boss. The child at his feet shrunk back into the shadows for fear of being trampled on. Half way down the carriage we came to an old-style door with a door handle. Kyle’s grip around my throat tightened as his hand grasping my shirt released and reached forward to open the door. The drop to the ground was a few feet and Kyle simply took a step forward and I was forced along with him. My feet hit the ground with a spine-jarring thud and Kyle hanging on to me by the throat simply worked as a pile driver to force his weight on to me as well. I grunted in pain and Kyle bent back and slammed the door shut behind him.

We were standing outside the train now, on the weed covered gravel beside the railway tracks. The smell of diesel and wild flowers hit me before being overpowered once more by Kyle as he breathed “Move” at my face.

The carriage we walked past, well in my case stumbled, was maroon in colour with gold writing on it. It had the name “Xena” across the side of it in bold letters. The rest of the carriages behind that one, in the direction I was being forced, were the blue, orange and white ones of one of the London rail services. For some reason a memory of them being over crowded, unreliable, and exorbitantly expensive flashed through my mind, but that didn’t really matter too much when you were about to be eaten to death.

I did a quick inventory as we walked past the first of the modern carriages, the faces of the meat axes inside leering at me and making rude gestures. There was no escaping Kyle’s death grip around my neck, that was for sure. He was probably armed, but the chances of me getting my tied hands on any weapon were nil. My trouser pockets contained nothing, I confirmed this by patting them as we walked. I wore a pair of faded and dirty jeans. A t-shirt which was once white, but was several shades of grey by now, and a red and black long sleeved shirt over that. I didn’t even have a warm jacket – mainly because it was warm weather at the time and I figured I would pick another one up closer to the time that I needed it.

As we reached the second-to-last carriage, Kyle reached up and pressed the open button on the outside. He obviously didn’t want to open the double doors on the last carriage, instead electing to push me in through the door of the adjoining carriage, this one full of what they considered ‘livestock’. The doors slid open with a hiss. He started man-handling me up into the carriage as, in a blur, a figure shot out the door and into the bushes. Kyle exclaimed “What the..” as he spun to try and grab the small child that had sprung past him. With that all hell broke loose and there were woman and children all rushing for the open doors and Kyle swinging arms and legs around to keep them all inside the carriage.

I was only half way up into the carriage when all this kicked off, so as soon as Kyle’s grip came off my neck to keep the others in line, I dropped to the ground and rolled away. I leapt to my feet and quickly jumped into the bushes where the child had just gone. There was no sign of the kid there any more, and I couldn’t go after him anyway, not with Adam still on that train.

I stopped and looked back and caught a glimpse of Adam looking out the open door. By this time Kyle had swung his bulk back on to the carriage again and was swinging punches at anyone and anything that came near the door. He pressed a button and the doors closed. The train started off again and the last time I saw Adam’s face it was pressed against the window looking out for me.

I chased that train for about three miles, shouting every profanity I knew, before collapsing in a sobbing pile on the hot tracks.

I’ve been chasing that train ever since, and won’t, no, can’t stop until I’ve found my Adam, rescued whoever is left to rescue, and put bullets in the brainpan of everybody answering to the name Boss or wearing black.

 
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Posted by on 19 November in Zombie Philes

 

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17th November

I swear I heard a gun shot in the night last night. I’ve got to be gaining on them. What little supplies I’’ve managed to get along the way are dwindling though, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m going to have to take a day off from the pursuit in order to stock up again. I can’t be wasting away and have no energy when I finally find them. I have no clue how I’ll take them all on yet, but I can’t see it going well if I’m already part dead on my feet before they have a go at me.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the ultimatum.

I didn’t have a clue what the space cowboy was on about. Sitting there in his luxurious seat, in his suit and tie. A small boy chained at his feet. What a freakin’ nut bar. At this stage I need to point out, I had not said a word to the guy. It wasn’t out of bravery, or wanting to be all cool and blasé about it. It was the deep seated terror I felt in the pit of my stomach, the dizzy wooziness of having just come around after my brain had been pounded against the inside of my skull – twice – and the fact that in front of me was one cold hearted, evil mother, and behind me was a train carriage of behemoths ready to tear my head off and drink from my skull. I wasn’t sure which I feared more, and so I just stood there trying not to kack my pants.

I looked up at the Boss man questioningly, obviously confused by this whole Gauntlet versus Third Class bizzo he was ranting about. So he enlightened me.

“This train is made up of two 450 Desiro diesel locomotives, hauling seven carriages made up of this one you stand in now, acquired from the London to Cambridge Orient Express, though we picked it up somewhere around Stevenage from memory. The other carriages consist of staff quarters, livestock,” He said this with a smirk, knowing I knew there were people in those carriages, “Food and storage, the Armoury, and what we refer to as Third Class, which houses a host of Lurkers.” At my confused frown he translated: “The walking dead people? Zombies if you will?” I knew what he had meant. My confusion was as to why they would have a carriage full of them. Noticing I still looked confused, the realisation as to why dawned on him. “A long train journey can get rather boring for those of us,” At this he nodded at the door behind me, “Lacking in the mental department to keep one’s self out of mischief. Therefore we carry a number of the Lurkers for entertainment purposes.”

He continued his blathering. I felt like I was in one of those movies where the arch-nemesis reveals his evil plot just before the good guy, hopefully me, escaped and ruined the dastardly plans before they could come to fruition. I looked around the carriage for some escape route that didn’t take me into the path of something shiny and pointy while he continued.

“This train used to hold a large number of happy families, making their way back and forth across the country in search of a safe home. I travelled with them for some time until a few of the boys you met in the previous carriage joined us and started rough-housing and messing about with some of the woman. This didn’t go down so well, as I’m sure you can imagine, with the kind hearted folks and so both sides soon came to what could politely be called an impasse. You see, the original inhabitants of the train didn’t like being beaten up, raped and some of their number mysteriously disappearing, and the boys in black couldn’t bring themselves to refrain from said activities. That’s where I stepped up and mediated for both parties. I think we all came to an amicable conclusion where we fed most of the original travellers, less a select few, to a hungry hoard that had been following the train for about a hundred miles by this stage, and kept the train for ourselves. Everybody was happy. Well, those unhappy no longer complained anyway.” With this his eyes crinkled up in what must have passed as glee to him. Me, I just stood there and tried not to hurl chunks.

He then reached up and pulled on a crimson cord which hung the length of the carriage just above the windows and looped through silver hooks. Somewhere behind him there was a distant ding of a bell and the train immediately began to slow with a squeaking of breaks until it came to a complete stop.

“Before you need to ask, let me assure you that the boy of yours will be looked after. Not well, mind you, but looked after all the same. So, what will it be? The Gauntlet through the carriage behind you, or Third Class in the last carriage?”

 
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Posted by on 17 November in Zombie Philes

 

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15th November

At the last train station there was sign that they’d been there. A dead (again) station attendant lay in several pieces across Platform Two. The windows and door were smashed in at the small coffee shop there, but can’t have provided them with much. The vending machine on the platform had long since been ransacked. I feel I can’t be that far behind them now, and I know it’s my imagination, but I can still hear the echoes of the howls and whoops from the gang as they tore through the place, finally unleashed after hours sitting on a slow-moving train. I’m going to find them, I’m going to kill them, I’m going to find my Adam, then I’m going to kill them all again.

So this Boss Man, what did he say? Let me think, it was quite profound, and probably something he practised in front of the mirror, if the mirror could stand the sight of him for long enough without disintegrating.

“So after all these years we’re still pulling in refugees.” He looked me up and down, then slowly and deliberately pulled a knife out of somewhere and placed it on the table. It wasn’t really a knife, more a dagger of some sort. I think they called them stilettos back in the day, and they were used more for throwing or stabbing. Whilst I’d just had a close encounter with a blade that could have sawn a tree down, I did not feel any safer with this obviously off kilter character and his stabbing device. I simply looked at the dagger, looked in his cold eyes again then quickly looked at the floor. I soon found the eyes of the lost child again and simply locked on to those.

“I don’t have the time or need to find out your name, so we’ll just skip the introductions altogether. All you need to know to get you through the remaining minutes of your life,” This made me force down a baseball sized lump in my dry throat, but I did not look up from the huge blue eyes blinking up at me from below the table. “Is that you’ve found yourself aboard what the boys have dubbed the Meat Wagon. It’s not a very nice name, I know, but it is, I assure you, quite fitting. You might be thinking to yourself: What is it I could be doing right now to get myself and, I’m told, quite a lovely looking boy, away from these scary people?”

With that his hand flew under the table and wrenched the boy up to his eye level by his hair. The dagger point was denting the skin of his scrawny neck and it had all happened in less than a heart beat he was so quick. The boy let out a whimper as a thin trickle of blood ran down from where the dagger had nicked his neck and continued to press, and tears welled up in his huge, pleading eyes that stared into me.

The cold blue eyes of the Boss then tore my helpless gaze from the boy and into the depths of the depraved man’s world.

“You see, I’ve gotten by in this so called life we now all find ourselves in, by speed and intelligence. Those Neanderthals you saw back in that last carriage survive purely by brute strength and brawn. You look like a fairly intelligent specimen to me.” In saying this he places the dagger back on the table again and lets go of the boy’s hair. The boy immediately curls back into the foetal position at his feet under the table and rubs at his neck where the dagger had been jabbing him. “As one of the few remaining intelligent members of the species I will therefore give you two choices.” He pauses here, whether savouring the moment, pausing for dramatics, or just that he’s lost his train of thought as the pink elephants and crazy pixies of his addled brain distract him for a moment. “You can choose to travel Third Class, or Run the Gauntlet, and most probably then travel Third Class anyway.” He sniggers to himself, without a drop of humour, at his own little in-joke.

 
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Posted by on 15 November in Zombie Philes

 

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11th November

I’m quite a tall guy so I think my stride is a bit over a metre long. I’m taking a step about once every second at the fast pace I walk. Let’s round that down to 45 metres a minute to account for breaks, backtracking if I take the wrong fork, and the odd zombie bashing. That’s 2.7km per hour. I’m a modern day guy, so like to work in metrics, although the UK was stuck in the dark ages before humanity crumbled, and they still talked in miles and inches. So in a ten hour day I can get in about 27km, and add in a few hours I dare to continue at night, I think I’m getting up around 30km of walking done per day. I don’t think that train was getting more than about 20km, ten to fifteen miles, per day at the speed it was going. They’d have to shut it down at night so the noise and light don’t attract unwanted visitors. They had a couple of days head start on me, but I should still be gaining on them. I really can’t be that far behind. I hope.

Anyways: Kyle dragged me into the next carriage. He took care to reach behind me and gently close the door. As he reached his foul bulk past me I felt the urge to headbutt him right in the nose, but the thought of the sudden movement made me feel nauseous having just come out of a Kyle-induced coma. Instead I looked over his shoulder at the opulence in front of me. I’ve seen pictures before of old fashioned carriages. Ones the First Class passengers took. The words Orient Express jumped to the forefront of my mind as I ogled at the beauty of the ornate wood panelling, the beautifully carved tables, each with a small, shaded lamp on top. The huge luxurious chairs with high, winged backs on them, the plush, maroon carpet and to top it off, at the far end, the fully stocked bar complete with leather bound stools bolted to the floor in front of it.

The first two tables are unoccupied, and the worn, golden coloured cushions on the chairs looked so inviting. There was a figure in the chair facing us but I didn’t get a good enough look before the Great Wall of Kyle was in front of me again blocking the view. Kyle cleared his throat and then just stood there in silence waiting for something. The figure must have finally given him his attention as Kyle then cleared his throat again and, was it a stutter?

“The new – new guy for you Boss.”

With that he spun his bulk around, and gave me a look filled with both malice and perhaps more than a smattering of glee then shoulder-barged past me and silently exited the carriage the way we had just come in, leaving me there with this Boss guy.

That was the first good look I had of this Boss. The man this band of enormous, black-clad, armed to the teeth, rough, evil sons of bitches must fear beyond measure. At first I thought I was looking at the wrong guy. Perhaps he was elsewhere in the carriage, and this was just his secretary, or the accountant or something. His slicked back, unruffled hair, the crisp, white, collared shirt, a blue tie with red diagonal stripes, slightly loosened after a hard day in the office. It was when his icy, blue eyes pierced into me, the evil and calculating stare of a cold blooded reptile. His clean shaven face bore the pockmarks of childhood acne or perhaps chickenpox. The edges of his thin lips creaked up to resemble a smile that did not reach is cold, mirthless eyes. I could tell immediately why the giant killing machines in the previous carriage feared him so much. He seemed to have bright neon warning signs flashing all around him. Over the imagined sound of the klaxon going off and woman and children screaming, I could hear the slither and rattle of his snake tail.

I shook my head to clear it of these crazy thoughts. He was just a man after all. Humans possessed the ability to reason. Perhaps this one, no, forget that. I looked back in those eyes again and saw what little humanity remaining did not reason.

In front of him, on the table, were a few pieces of paper which he must have been perusing as we had entered. He dropped a thick, shiny silver pen down on top of them and put his elbows up on the table and steepled his fingers, bouncing his hands repeatedly against his lips.

It was then that I noticed a chain leading off from somewhere on his waist, as he sat there in the high backed chair, looping down to a small bundle at his feet. The bundle then moved and I could see a pair of blue eyes look up at me like those of a beaten puppy dog. It was a boy of around five or six. The chain connected to a leather dog collar buckled around his neck. His clothes were mere rags, barely a grey and filth-encrusted covering over his bony frame.

The Boss regarded me for a while before finally addressing me. All the time I just stared into the eyes of the poor, lost child cowering at his feet.

 
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Posted by on 11 November in Zombie Philes

 

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