Monthly Archives: February 2015

28 February

Having stopped off near a small township, a few of us, including Adam who was going stir-crazy cooped up on that carriage, decided to see what items we could stock up on. Food is obviously highly unlikely. There might be wild blackberries and apples around, perhaps a deer would be nice, but raiding houses for their dry stores is not an option these days. Nothing will be edible now. We are barely a step ahead in the evolutionary scale from cavemen. We’re hunter-gatherers. Not even a farming species yet.

We have our big, steel steed which rumbles and rattles through the overgrown weeds covering the iron tracks. This is the only thing that separates us from the gnashing teeth and rotted flesh-covered claws of the snotties, which are everywhere. After such a long time, you’d think we would be safe by now. The undead finally dying again – for real this time. But they keep going. Nothing barring blunt head trauma, or a bullet in the brain pan puts them down for good. And here-in lies the crux of today’s sermon.

I like to think that Adam and I have had enough time on the road together for him to have picked up a few tricks. He’s a smart kid, and being thrust into such a shite existence, he continues to astound me with his resilience and strength.

The township was tiny. A couple of zoms shambled about on the main street, quickly dispatched in silence by our small, heavily armed team. The trick is to make as little noise as possible. Dispatch the lurkers quickly before their numbers start building up. Do it quietly, do it efficiently, keeping clear of teeth, fingernails, and any splash back. Don’t get separated from the group, and keep firearms as an emergency measure due to the noise, and therefore attention, they generate. Cover your back, and make sure you never get cut off from any retreat options. Easy peasy.

How many rules was that? Don’t know, I don’t count and I don’t rattle them off. Nobody here is a newbie to this. Everybody here has lived through this exactly the same amount of time as I have. You don’t join this half way through. To be one of the remaining cognizant beings on this planet you need to have come through a number of years of this, and survived with a total count of zero bites, scratches or face-fulls of gore from battling the undead.

Adam has a friend. Not a girlfriend as such, but a friend who is a girl. She’s 8 years old, about six months older than him. She is a tough wee thing. Quite the tomboy. Her and Adam kick around the train carriages together and wherever you see one of them, the other is not far behind. Her name is Jenny, and she was one of the orphans rescued from the clutches of the previous train proprietors. Her bounce-back from those traumas was rapid and complete, where others are still struggling with their hideous memories of that time.

Adam and Jenny were with me and three other adults, and the six of us made a beeline for any hardware stores and fuel supplies; gas stations, repair workshops, construction vehicle depots and sometimes even farm yards. Anything that might hold diesel for our ever-thirsty locomotive, or food for our dwindling supplies.

We all had our parts to play. One of the adults and I took point, heading towards buildings of interest. Not a word spoken. Grunts and hand gestures were all we needed. The next two adults covered our flanks and backed us up when more than one target came lurching out at us. The two kids held the rear and covered all of our backs. Their job was to let us know if anything came up behind us, or if our retreat was compromised.

The kids were not to engage zoms under any circumstances until there were no other options. They knew this, and stuck to it religiously. It was for this reason that the gun shots the kids started unleashing took us all by surprise.

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24 February

This morning we made our way into the countryside and made a stop where the tracks came close to a narrow canal. We need drinking water, and I’m sure that after several weeks of running constantly that a diesel motor is likely to need some form of cooling fluid as well.

There’s a core team of us now that form the main defence team whenever we need to worry about safety. I gathered them to me and we armed up ready to replenish our dwindling supply of H2O.

Shoving our way through overgrown brambles and stinging nettles, I was glad to have my handy dandy machete back again. A bit of TLC to work out the dents and nicks in the blade from hacking zoms, I had managed to put a nice edge on it and it was cutting through the vegetation was like a hot knife through butter. Mmm, butter.

Anyways, the six of us were making good time getting down from the tracks, through the undergrowth and heading for the river when the sound of a motor took us all by surprise and instinctively we all hit the dirt. Our heads whipped from side to side as we tried to trace the source of the noise. It was getting louder, and closer, but where could it have been coming from?

It was the gentle chug, chug, chug of an engine under no strain at all, at barely more than an idle. Something was casually heading towards us. Then it came around the corner. A boat on the river. It was what they call a narrow boat. We all stayed low. Knowing what the people on the train had been like before I had rescued the woman and children from them, we didn’t want to risk another nasty encounter with strangers. We stayed low and watched as it chugged its way past us. Standing at the back of the boat, holding on to the long tiller pole was a woman in a green jumper with long, straggly gray hair.

Suddenly the teenager that was with us, Deborah, jumped to her feet.

“Maureen?”, she said out loud. “Maureen!” she then shouted. All the rest of us started shushing her, both because we weren’t sure if the boat inhabitants were friendly, plus we didn’t need any snotties to come by. “Maureen! Maureen!” she kept shouting. Jumping up and down and waving her arms. Finally the woman on the boat turned and, throwing her hand over her eyes like a salute in order to shade the glare from the pale grey sky, she flicked a leaver and the engine of the boat engine died in volume. She pushed the lever further the same way and the pitch of the engine suddenly increased tenfold and the water started frothing and churning behind the boat as she threw it into full reverse.

From somewhere beside her, another head popped up. This was of a balding man with spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose.

At this Deborah muttered “Uncle Charlie?” and started pushing her way through the remaining tangles between her and the river’s edge. Her hands were starting to get scratched up pretty badly so the rest of us tried to help her through.

On reaching the water, the noise of the engine had died off and this Uncle Charlie chap had jumped ashore with a rope in his hands and quickly tied the boat off to the trunk of a straggly tree. He looked up in time for Deborah to throw herself at him. The poor, surprised guy was knocked back and struggled to keep his balance, and his specs on his face, as the girl broke down sobbing uncontrollably into his chest. Uncle Charlie by this stage had regained his composure and grabbing the girl’s head in his hands, gently pushed her back to take a good look at her grimy, tear streaked face.

“Deb?” he finally croaked, and a tear fell from his eye. Maureen, having sorted things on the boat, finally came running up to see what was going on. As soon as she saw Deborah though, she was in hysterics and crying and wailing.

Obviously this was some kind of touching moment for the three of them, and in a way the rest of us felt some sense of happiness and perhaps even jealousy for them. But right then we were all on high alert as the unnecessary noise was the exact thing to rustle us up a batch of finely rotted corpses shambling our way. The other four of our group spread out a little and kept a wary eye on the surroundings as the three calmed down at last and started catching up.

It turned out that Deb was their niece. With no idea that she was still alive, Maureen and Charles took to the high seas, well, narrow channels of water that run the length and breadth of England, and had spent the last several years pottering around in the relative safety of the country’s waterways. They immediately invited Deb to join them. She thanked me again, as I seem to get from all of the escapees on a semi-regular basis, and hugged the others of the away team goodbye, then hopped aboard the boat. When she ducked her head to go below, we knew she had a much better life ahead of her at last.

Maureen waved to us as she threw the motor in gear and the boat very slowly made its way out into the middle of the channel and chugged away out of sight. As the sounds of the engine faded into the distance, we filled our water containers and started the hard slog back to the train with the heavy loads. The team were all quiet as we each wondered what our own fairytale rescue from this nightmare might be.

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20 February

It’s been more than a few weeks now. I’ve only stopped to find fuel for the loco a couple of times over that period. The fuel tanks are so large and we’re trundling along at a slow enough pace that we’re just not using that much of it. Thankfully.

There’s no sign of whether anybody else survived the escape back then, and if they did, our trail would be so difficult to follow I doubt they would have much hope of getting us any time soon.

The next day after we all escaped we discovered that one of the young girls had been bitten by a zom. She was unconscious and in the middle of the turn cycle by the time we discovered the bite on her upper arm. One of the woman refused to let us leave the girl by the side of the tracks alone and insisted on staying behind with her. I wanted to keep the train there and wait for the girl to turn so the woman could jump in and escape, but the commotion of the diesel train chugging away had started to attract too many unwanted visitors. The woman, Natalie I found out her name was, made the decision for us and snatching up the girl, bolted out the train door and ran into the twilight. Suffice to say we didn’t see her again.

As for the rest of the escapees, they are doing much better now. They finally are starting to get a little colour in their cheeks with the extra rations they’re allowed to eat. A lot of crying and consoling goes on. I can only imagine what they have seen and been subjected to at the hands of those evil monsters.

Right now my only plan is to keep us moving, and keep us as safe as possible. We spent last night with the train parked on a long bridge, that way we only needed 2 sentries on, one front, one back, at any time through the night.

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Posted by on 20 February in Zombie Philes


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