An outbreak story.

RemadERemadE Global Moderator
edited December 2012 in Life
Ok so before I post the first chapter here, I'd like to say that this is a work in progress.
I started this story last November as it was snowing in my City and I'd just returned from an almost deathly quiet walk around. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I'm obsessed with Post Apocalyptic things, and so I decided to just write up something which has grown so far, to 7 chapters in length. I have had to edit out the name of where I live for security/Personal Info reasons, but I can assure you, it's all geographically and therefore real life correct.

So, let's get on with the first installment.


Chapter 1.

It was always at night that I would explore the City.
Let me bring you up to speed.

November the 10th. 2 weeks ago the State of Emergency was declared. Marshal law was enforced as an infection spread through the population. At first it was like the typical Winter cold, but soon enough those affected would begin to cough up blood and strike out at those within a close proximity. News reports, as per usual, thought the few original, isolated cases were due to a new "legal high" drug. What set these people apart though, was how they recklessly attacked the NHS staff who were there to help them, and expressed no form of regret with a twinkle of automation in their eye.
Soon enough, those News reports which once seemed a world away were on my doorstep. It was common for me to look at the TV and see soldiers in Afghanistan or in the DMZ between North and South Korea - knowing they were nowhere near me. I was safe in my little world. But no more.

So there I was, going out at night, behind the lines drawn through my City by the Army and Government. I am a University student, well was, before the infection broke out. Lecture halls are no longer full, rather just a group of Students foolhardy enough to risk infection, hell bent on finishing their degree. I was always disillusioned with the University way of life, convinced that it was only full of Upper-Class individuals who cared about only themselves. I was wrong, to an extent, and seeing as they were the first to leave, everything has thus been turned on its head.

I always walked down through the graveyard to get my supplies. It was right next to my University Campus and was never a place that people would go. Even after 2 weeks of open infection, it gained no popularity.
The snow slashed against my tender skin. My supplies had run low since I last ventured and risked my life in the wasteland that was my City pre-infection.
Graves were on either side of me, dating back to the 17th century. Humanity was at a comparitively comfortable stage then.

"Where did it all go wrong?" I whispered to myself, keeping my volume low, as well as the snow underfoot crunching to a minimum.
It wasn't working.

My feet were still crunching the compacted snow wherever I went. The training I was taught when shooting and hunting as a Child needed to become second nature. I squatted down and took stock of the situation. Behind me were the City limits. Hills that stretched to the other side of the Country, and in front of me was the hill which I lived on. University housing was evacuated, but soon after, I returned as I befriended Security over my 2 years there and managed to snatch a key. There was no need for anyone to return, or so the University thought.

I continued down the side of the graveyard, spotting a sillhouette towards the top of the hill. I froze. Squatting still, and trying not to roll back on my rear foot. My hand scraped against the wall, but soon enough the person moved. It could have been military, but it could have been scavengers. It was 8pm, the sun was firmly down, so as long as I avoided the dim lights from fires in the adjoining field, I was safe. The stench of blistering flesh hit me and a nauseating head rush almost caused me to fall over as I slowly stood up. My hand moved off of my respirator satchel, as I was soon on the move, out of the immediate stench of burning corpses. This combined with my need to reach my target was starting to take its toll. I, your humble story-teller have a medical condition I need supplies for which were not as easily accessible as the old days where you saw a Doctor as there were none. Instead I had to rely on contacts made over the years I lived here.

I kept my hand on the icy, sharp stoned wall and moved through the graveyard, keeping my eye on the crest of the hill where the sillhouette was not 5 minutes ago. The gate towards the City wasteland was straight ahead, and I managed to sneak out. I was now unprotected, exploring the Wasteland after hours. I need to survive.

I crossed the road which once flowed with cars, not having to wait for a break in the traffic. Turning right I crossed over the old railway line, which now serves to ferry the dead towards the nearest Port where the City has now become a huge crematoria. The ashes washed to the sea, forming a grey tide stretching for miles.
Houses now surrounded me. Cars still in the driveways, nothing out of the ordinary until one looks inside. Naturally I had to stay close to the shadows to avoid being seen, which often resulted in me peering through a window and seeing a corpse not a foot from my face. Their pale, rubbery skin longing for the kiss of life, but retired to the fact it will never come. Sometimes they just stare into nothingness. I wonder what is on the other side. Psychological wellbeing is paramount in this new world.

My feet crunched in the newly laying snow, forming a layer on top of the ice from yesterdays flurries of the white stuff. I was concious of leaving footprints, but as new snow began to intermittently fall, I took my chances and continued along the street. Every corner was widely taken, and this was no exception. Up ahead was a patrol of 2 scouts, illuminated by one of the few emergency streetlights running from the central generator. Each had their Recon sacks, radios, chemlights, maps and HK MP5 submachine gun.
I held my breath and positioned myself behind a shrub. My dark clothes not going well with the snow, but the cover of darkness shrouded me to almost being invisible. I always chose either dark blue or grey to go out in. Another trick I learnt when I would partake in Urban Exploration of the City before everything turned to crap. I'd often find myself wandering round at night and I had perfected the art of blending in, running and getting a nagging objective done as my source of motivation.
I kept my eye on the 2 Scouts.
"Keep going....keeeep going" I whispered to myself, peering further onto their position as I needed to get past them without being seen.
The 2 scouts stopped and discussed something, pointing to the hill where I just came from. Their radios began to transmit chatter and they were soon on their way again, disappearing into the darkness, only their green radio LED light visible.
Stepping tentatively out from behind the bush, I trod into their footprints to eliminate a 3rd pair of tracks, and the snow was already compacted, so minimising noise and my own mark. It was difficult in the dark, but the slight ambient light from the emergency ones set up every so often along paths helped to identify where to tread.

As I left the estate of houses behind, crossing another abandoned road, I slipped into a back alley. Piles of rubbish bags as tall as me, and at 6ft, that was admirable. Shame the smell wasn't. Every so often the squeal of a rodent, or the scurry of one in front of you would make your heart skip a beat, mostly as you hope their noise wouldn't attract any attention. I slid my bug out bag off my back and rummaged through it, mentally noting what I saw and felt but looking for my torch. It had fallen towards the bottom of the bag, but I grabbed it, checked each end of the alley and turned it on, inspecting a few bags of rubbish for anything of value.
As my hand brushed off the snow, some of the bags were warm.

"certainly not opening those ones" I whispered to myself. Who knows what could be in them?
I grabbed a bag from the top of a pile as I doubt they would contain anything heavy or nasty. Reaching into my pocket I found my knife, bringing it up to perforate and cut down the bag to get inside with a minimum of noise. Snow fell off of it, and out tumbled maggots and rotting food all over my boots and the virgin snow. The stench suddenly overtook that of the burning human flesh from the field I passed. Stuffing my torch into my overcoat pocket and wiping, then putting away my knife, I moved on. This wasn't what I was here for anyway and I didn't fancy leaving a pile of vomit on the snow as a further mark of my necessary night excursion.
Approaching the end of any alleyway is dangerous, not least when scout teams can pass, or an armoured vehicle is sitting just out of sight to the side with a machine gun trained on the exit of the alley.
I kept low and hugged the wall. I could see in front of me but what about behind? After watching "Saving Private Ryan" as part of my History course the idea to use a mirror hit me.
I reached into my pocket for my knife, then taking the gum from my mouth and attaching my trusty signal mirror to the knife blade I could see behind me with as little of me exposed.
Nothing.
I ran into the grounds of the Cathedral, knowing now I was near my contact. This was a very familiar area and strictly out of bounds due to the infection and the preservation laws passed in order to stop damage to national treasures during riots.
Looking across the grounds gave me a great vantage point. Lights were along the paths and grounds, and nobody that I could see. I just had to transverse this area and I was almost home free.
Once again sticking to the walls I pulled out my homemade silenced pistol just in case trouble were to arise, as I knew I was certainly not the only scavenger out tonight.
"Thank you, Internet" I muttered as I kept the barrel pointed on where I was headed. I had a lot of free time at University and a homemade silencer on a scavenged firearm was very handy. Who knows, maybe next, a proper silencer? I just had to keep my eye open for abandoned Scout posts.
I made sure the awkwardly placed safety was off and I gripped the polymer handgrip on the Glock 17.

Sticking once again to the shadows, I headed to the walls surrounding the Cathedral. Gravestones casting long shadows almost up to my feet.

A few minutes into this solitary, almost infinite walk, I was across the grounds. No patrols there tonight for the time being. I memorised this in case of future need to come this way again.

The narrow cobbled streets clacked and tapped as I always tried to step lightly, but some inevitably rattled on the thin snow here.
Ahead was the low hum of a moving vehicle. I moved into the middle of the road and saw the rear lights and a 2-man patrol behind the now-identified Hummvee. My contact lived at 32.

I passed 10.
Sticking once again to the walls, sometimes dodging in and out of front yards. Untended to and home to rats.

20 came and went. The hum continued, but going the same speed meant I continued uninhibited.

30.
Looking to my left I saw the door and the homemade doorbell so you don't have to knock and cause attention to be drawn to yourself.
I pushed it.

A shadow approached the door and opened slightly. Chains all along the door and a peering eye in the chain-allowed gap. White and piercing. A hard life was had by him. It showed.
Upon seeing my now uncovered and damp face in the dim light, he closed the door, scuffled the chains and opened the door once again.
In I stepped.

The door closed slowly but quickly behind me, almost enveloping me in wood. Keeping a low profile is paramount when the human form can be so recognisable.

"So how was the journey?" the man's hoarse voice projected around the damp, candle-lit flickering house.
"Oh, the usual", I replied. "A few patrols, one down this road -"
"Ah I heard that one, too" the man responded with. "A bit earlier than usual. Something must be going on"
I nodded in acknowledgement as we headed to the upstairs lounge. The Army patrols have a habit of shining high-intensity lights into ground floor windows to identify individuals with the aid of state of the art cameras. databases are slowly built on those seen in the lens. Innocent or not.

I sat back in the springless chair, almost sinking into it as it was starving after years of abuse. My legs were aching, and this was a sure welcome rest. The leather squeaking under my rubbing thumbs.

"So you here for the box?" the man said, carressing his old, wrinkled face. To think he fought in major conflicts and now to have this Military presence on his doorstep makes me wonder.
"Sure am" I replied optimistically. It usually contains narcotics, ammunition and forged food ration stamps. Sometimes important documents to pass on, or a few e-books from before the infection on an encrypted USB drive that we share, teaching me survival skills. Maybe even a film or 2. Blu-ray came a long way.

The man ducked under his desk and pulled out the black box. Wooden, crockering as he handed it to me. His age showing through his handling of the box.
I took the box in my hands, tracing and finding the lock, creaking it open and peering inside with the help of my maglite.He had given me some 9mm hollowpoint rounds, a bottle of morphine, a replacement needle, about 3.5g of Cannabis and a film called "The Holy Mountain". I was reccommended it was a total headfuck. My kinda film. In the wasteland, you need things to keep your mind occupied. Electricity was rationed to a few hours a day, so I could watch this film on my laptop. Charging the now numerous batteries I had scavenged was very useful in order to work outside of the rationed hours.

I handed over some paperwork to the old man, like I said we needed entertainment in this new World. TV shows were just repeats, or recorded broadcasts were the only entertainment for most. File sharing speeds were at a snails-pace as the local Internet was flooded with Military packets. Life was boring, but you daren't go outside.
"Thank you ever so much" he whispered, the paper almost transparent in his aged, freckled hands. Maybe it was just the candle flickering in the breeze through the old room. Much of this City is still Medieval, and this house was no exception. Luckily we were far enough from the window to avoid being detected by sentries. The papers were just News reports, excerpts from books and some observations of my own. Being a History Student, my interests ranged from Conflicts to modern Laws. I hated old History, I preferred gritty, controversial events - much like now.

I placed the rickety hardwood box into my pocket and moved around to check for noises. I took it out as this was not quiet enough to bypass the Sentries by the Graveyard.
"Do you have anything to..." I didn't finish, and making a motion like stuffing a turkey, the old man handed me some insulation. I pushed it into the box, closing the lid and repeated the process.
"Perfect" I said, smiling.
I hugged him, wished him well and opened the back door, keeping an upward tension on it to avoid any squeaking. As I turned round, the almost teary glint in his eyes locked onto mine. After checking and securing my pockets, coat and footwear, I was enveloped by the night.

Comments

  • JackedJacked Regular
    edited November 2011
    preety nice man, good description i could picture every movement through the read.I realy liked the original parts of the story, like the stuff you dont see in films and books already made. like fuck the worlds over as if the first thing thats traded isnt drugs and weopons :thumbsup: keep em coming
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    Thanks for the feedback, man. Will revise Chapter 2 and post it tonight. You'll be surprised at how difficult it is to keep continuity in a story which could go in so many directions. Currently on Chapter 8, and trying to keep up the descriptive language. Kinda rushed it lately so need to go back - but Chapter 2 should be ready to go.

    Keep your eyes peeled! Would love some illustrations to go along with it, too.
  • DaktologistDaktologist Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    I can't wait for chapter 2. That was an excellent read, I love this sort of thing.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    Chapter 2.
    Home.png

    I decided to head home a different route to the one I took. Somewhat unknown, but it was a more straight and direct route from the rear of the Mans house. You're probably wondering how I met him, so here's a quick history recap.
    In the pre-infection days I would often, like I said, go outside of University and into the local town. I had a huge dislike of many of the people within the City as they were mostly middle-class and arrogant, so I'd often sit at the City limits and enjoy the silence. One day, during the Winter no less, I was smoking a Joint on a bench overlooking the City from a Hill with a bin bag on a bench as my seat. Nothing like a wet arse.

    Hold on. A patrol. Time to hold my breath and hug the wall on the inset, absent-gated cobbled yard of whatever house I happened to be nearest to.

    Ok so this family walked past me on the bench and I attempted to hide the object. Being a Class B drug I didn't fancy some lecturing from a Mother or her Parents about the dangers of drugs as they took their Kids sledding down this hill. There were 2 children, a Brother and Sister, their Parents, well dressed and enthusiastic, and the Grandparents.
    The Grandfather sat down on the bench next to me commenting on how the walk really is good but bad for him, not least in these icy conditions. I agreed with all he said, just wanting him to move on so I could finish my smoke.
    Instinctively I took a hit to keep the joint burning.
    After a qhile he questioned what it was, more than likely knowing. He was old enough to have experienced the 1960s and 1970s.
    "Mind if I..." I recall his saying as clear as day.
    A smile came over my face and I offered him the last third or so of my joint, watching him chill out and almost ease back into the bench on his long, waxed coat was somewhat reassuring. It's not often you get a man like that.
    "Bloomin' family you see. They'd kill me if they knew - not least my wife. I remember the old days when I had a garden full of the stuff"
    "You grew?" I used to, but I would never admit it. My Parents were pretty laid back.
    "Oh sure. Most people did 40-odd years ago. Well, it seemed almost everybody."
    I laughed and looked over the City, watching him toss the roach to one side as he exhaled one last time, and I was unable to tell smoke from the heat of his warmed breath,.
    "George? George?" a female voice cried out.
    "That's my cue" he said, his wife calling him.
    "Being a University Student I tended to carry round paper and pens.
    "If ever you fancy some company or whatnot, just visit me at 32 Cathedral Road" he said, as he sighed and laboured on towards the family.
    I made a note. And that's how we got to where I am tonight. The guy's awesome. Almost a modern-day William S Burroughs if you will.

    In the time it's taken me to explain this, I'm now on the home-straight. I avoid the Hospital as Security intermittently patrol there, knowing people like me would jump at a chance for those medical supplies - and it's only 200 yards from my house.
    I see the fence of where I live.
    "Stick to the shadows..come on you're almost there" I say, hurriedly walking foot ball-to-heel to remain silent. I came up to the steps. Quickly snapped right.
    I had made it.

    Thanks to Security abandoning their post I had practically free reign over where I lived. I chose the main complex on my Housing campus as it was large but easily inhabitable. It was mostly wood and spacious, but it was home - for now.
    Approaching I put the key in the lock, turned it twice to the left and pushed my way in, avoiding getting the carpet soaked with snow, and moving up the wooden stairs to my humble abode. Off came the boots, on came the low-wattage lights and I hung my coat up.
    "Oh, one thing" I remembered.
    Undoing the button and reaching into the deep pocket I grabbed it. The creaky old box.
    My lifesaver.
    Tonight had tired me. I set the laptop up a comfy distance from my bed and loaded up the bong I had been given by my girlfriend as a parting gift. I knew she was out there. Somewhere. We had often fantasised about living in a post-apocalyptic world and surviving. She had friends nearby and the lack of communication didn't help. One day I'd find her.
    But I tried to forget it. Keep my mind straight. As much as I loved her, the time apart worried me. I loaded the bong with ice from the roof and packed the bowl with a half-nug of some great smelling Cannabis. I was in for a long and sleepy night, not least with this "Holy Mountain" movie.
    I inhaled...held, and put the glassware down.
    Pressed play.
    And reclined into bed.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    Chapter 3.

    My ceiling.
    I opened my eyes and rubbed the sleep from them. A cold chill had come into my room and the movie was on loop. The psychedelic colours provided some relief last night, but as always I just nodded off. My stomach has mad cramps right now and I need something to kill the pain. Cannabis helps, but the munchies just make me want to eat, and in a place where my room is empty and the shops a fair distance for such small things, it's Hell.
    Sitting up I bring the laptop closer.
    Battery at 57%, so I wasn't asleep for too long. Only a few hours. Thankfully I had spare batteries if need be, charging during the few hours of electrical supply we had during the curfew using a looted laptop of the same model. Now the Students were gone, I had a good few hundred rooms under my control, so before I decided to write this, I went on the prowl and it paid off. It was easy enough seeing as before the majority of Students left in a panic, including the International ones, I would often find Laptops and other expensive things sitting in the trash - usually left there by a rich Student from Hong Kong.

    Todays mission was to find some food, or at least nutrition. Frequently, before the outbreak, I'd have medical drinks to keep my weight on, and at 400 calories each, they were a lifesaver. I have a stash in my room, but the more I can get, the better.

    The pain, though. It felt as if my stomach was full of some sort of burning hot liquid. Having Crohn's Disease meant my guts were scarred up and blistered. Anything that passed through them was absolute agony and before the Infection struck, I would have to do bi-monthly Immunnosuppressant injections, but no longer, so the pain was going unchecked, and therefore it became more intense.
    I kept the medication nearby, simply because getting up to walk was not an option. Some days I would be unable to even get up to go for a piss in the morning.

    On went the soothing music of Lou Reed as I stretched from my bed, and I shuffled toward the box I was given by the George the previous night.
    The Morphine.
    Yes.
    Pulling hard and opening the slightly damp, swollen clunky wooden drawers next to my bed I carefully pulled out some assorted needles, a 500ml bottle of Isopropanol I used for sterilisation and my trusty metal syringe.
    I ceremoniously lay the needle, syringe and bottle of Morphine out on the top of the bedside drawer. Opening the window I grabbed some ice from the roof to numb my thigh whilst I prepared the syringe and Morphine.
    Almost in a Japanese Tea Ceremony manner, I had a numb thigh and a soon-to-be loaded syringe with Morphine Sulphate. It wasn't the wisest idea to inject it, but the pain was getting to me and the trade-off was worth it.
    Crushing the Morphine beads, I heated the white powder into a small amount of reverse-osmosis filtered water I had kept for this purpose by briefly putting it over a lighter. I sucked up the now white liquid through a cigarette filter and dipped the needle into the Isopropanol, holding the syringe between my teeth.
    After which came the dabbing of the Isopropanol onto the area I wanted to inject.
    If I got an infection during these times, nobody would help me. It was a risk I had to be willing to take.

    Pushing the remainder of the melted ice away, I placed the needle on my thigh and pinched, pushing the point into my skin.
    Letting it settle.
    Push it some more.
    Then let go.

    Now comes the painful part. The plunger had to be pushed.
    Stinging. Warm. Dizziness.
    Bliss.

    It took what seemed like forever for the procedure to be complete, and my skin bubbled around the injection site, but after 5 minutes or so, it began to absorb into my body as I didn't fancy shooting into a vein, and a warm, dopamine-fuelled rush came over me. I fell back onto my bed and let the syringe relax from my grip. Time to bin the needle and go on a walk round the City.

    I kept the good music on, keeping my spirit high and mood straight, going into a hot, steamy shower. It was paramount to get washed during the few hours of electricity we were allocated, and I drifted off into my own world.
    Visions of my City during happier, pre-outbreak times came back to me. The warm smiles of those I loved, the ease of shopping, the simplicity of life. It wasn't perfect, but in comparison to this, it was a dream.
    "Snap out of it. You can't go back" I said to myself stepping out of the cubicle into the freezing air of my room. Thankfully the Morphine buzz covered up the chill after a few seconds of exposure. I began to think about other methods of administering Opiates, including up my arse.
    "If I get that desperate" I said.
    I never eat much anyway, so it's not as though much could go wrong.

    It was around midday when I decided to go out, but it would give me good time to look around potential targets. Nowhere was particularly guarded, but entrance points were important, and very useful to keep myself updated on.
    Before going out I studied the clippings I keep for George, the old man who lives by the Cathedral who gave me my fortnightly stash. He likes to be kept up to date on the events in the City, so I keep old Newspapers for him, however one story really stuck out in my mind - so I went to the pile of recently collected papers and rummaged through.
    "Gotcha"
    Newspapers have a habit of exposing details they shouldn't. In this case, a supermarket was looted and the papers had the wisdom to put into the article on how it was executed. Great ideas for someone such as myself. I need a good model to go by, and apparently through the roof is a good one as reflected in the Sainsburys pillage that had happened the prior week.

    As I sat staring at the wall projecting a mental image of how I would do it, I found myself to be in a daze.
    Shaking my head and coming to, I zipped up my combat trousers, laced up my boots, threw on ski coat and adjusted my hat and scarf. I put one of my 400 calorie drinks into my pocket as well as some medication in the form of pills in case the pain struck me. It was pretty random, and in a stressful place or life such as mine, it was a common part of everyday life.
    Time to hit the road. Into the pockets went my keys and a notepad and biro.
    Scratch that. No chance being caught with incriminating notes, I thought.

    A wintery blast greeted me as I opened my front door.
    On the road again.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    Chapter 4.

    Being daytime, and winter, I knew I had a few hours before the curfew was back in effect. I made a beeline for Sainsburys, going down the numerous back-alleys to look for possible entry points of other shops.

    "Fire escape. Useful entry point. Clothing shop" I'd say in my mind.
    "Boarded-up window. Already looted? Inhabited?". My mind was racing as I would be putting these into a mental notebook. I'd frequently explore my City before the infection broke out, so the locations were fine, it was just putting the merchandise and entry points together. If I wanted clothing, I'd know where to go. Food, how to get to it etc. The best places were by far the Hospital and Chemist for medical supplies, especially the drinks I mentioned earlier.

    "Go on, take a peek in the Chemist" my mouth said. I had no control. Maybe that would be tonights excursion. I would see.

    Walking further, I came out of an alleyway and looked at my watch.
    13:33
    I had about 3 hours before the sun would start to go down, and the curfew comes into effect at 5pm. Plenty of time to have a recon of the food stores. Well, once food stores. Luckily for me it hadn't been too long since the infections began, so most of the food would still be good. Maybe some past its use-by date, but still edible.
    I circumnavigated Sainsburys. Their warehouse storage doors were secured with a few flimsy ABUS padlocks. The fire escape door was firmly shut, so no chance of a quiet entrance there. The front door was too obvious and any chance of getting onto the roof was made impossible by the fact I didn't want to walk around with a damn ladder at night. There were none I could see there, either.
    I began to itch my shoulders and thighs. That morphine had certainly taken effect. Relentless scratching had now started, and before long my body would be home to a nest of imaginary ants, and I'd curse having short nails.
    Luckily for me someone had already taken down a portion of the barbed wire topped fence. This could mean the shop had already been looted which wouldn't present too much of an issue - because who could ransack an entire Supermarket?
    Or someone could be living there. Nobody went into shops anymore.
    There was simply no use for them.

    We, or they, should I say, relied on Military rations. 1,500 calories a day, just enough to keep the few survivors lethargic in the Winter to avoid going out and burning off energy unneccesarily.
    "Lucky I had those drinks" I said to myself as I pulled it from my pocket. Apricot flavour. I needed a refill of my favourite flavours as cold cappucino or forest fruit flavours weren't my thing. Still, they did the job.

    Returning home via a different route, I passed the now defunct sports centre and skate park. I'm sure come next Spring there would be grass or some other wildlife making it's home on the asphalt. Soon enough, this place would be reclaimed by Nature. One of Englands most historic and pristine Cities reduced to a Jungle. It's amazing what can be achieved in a few years.
    I made a crude reference to female pubic hair. It had to be done. Any sort of humour is appreciated in these dark days. Flashbacks of the times I would walk around the City at night during happier times, just to avoid Human contact and sit on the halfpipe with a friend smoking a doobie or watching the stars. No rush. No threat of being killed by an over-zealous Patrol.

    The worst part for my journeys was living on a hill. Sure it had great views and was conveniently located across from a Pub, which proved useful if ever I fancied a keg of a now almost frozen beverage in the midst of Winter, but the walk back in this snow just took it out of me.
    The drinks make sense now, don't they?
    I took a few shortcuts to avoid the worst of the hill.
    The time is now 14:40, I didn't spend long in town.
    Approaching my door, I did my routine of turning the key twice, my hands now shaking and struggling to find the keyhole due to the bitter cold. It had just begun to snow, but I made it inside and took off my boots. Clapping them together to shake the snow and ice from the soles, and made my way upstairs, creaking the dark hardwood underfoot.
    Oak. There's something so homely and rich about it. I felt like a king in a way. I had a huge building all to myself with everything I could ever need.

    But I still thought about leaving one day. I just neded a reason. It was always going roundd in the back of my head.

    The place I lived in, for the time being at least, was spacious. In essence it was an attic of the main part of my University Halls. Sure, it had its history and fair share of Ghost stories, but I'm sure they have long gone. The room was spacious. I'd say about 20 metres long by 15 wide. A tall, white ceiling with Oak beams meant good air circulation, which proved useful for clearing my mind.
    Posters adorned the walls, reminding me of past interests, be it psychedelic wall hangings, movies or photos of good friends. No Family though.
    None at all. I have to distance myself from them and their staring, expectant faces from the photos wouldn't help me cope. The same with my now absent Girlfriend.
    Our relationship turned sour before the Infection struck. She was never good at keeping in touch, I blamed myself and it wasn't long after emerging from a Psychiatric ward that it seemed the whole world was going insane.
    "You told yourself never to think of her" I muttered.

    The room itself contained areas of food and drink, kept seperate, a large, double bed and a collection of reading materials. Alongside these on a plastic table is a laptop which underneath, there are 5 spare batteries for using it. Scavenged from the other Student Halls, I found them and during rationed electricity hours, I can still type my thoughts or watch a film. I have to keep myself occupied.
    The silence drives me crazy otherwise.
    Around the room are plates. Evenly spread out. On these are half-melted candles, so I can read during the hours of darkness. If I don't want electronic company or cannot afford to waste batteries, then a book is fine. I have to keep learning when my education went down the drain.
    My mind needs constant stimulation. I sink into the gutter of macabre thoughts and depression otherwise. The distance between my Girlfriend and I would often result in me having images flash through my mind of harming her, so I have resigned myself to the fact I am no longer in a relationship.
    Taking advantage of my violent side.
    There was no law now.

    Well at least no effective law.

    I almost shook the thoughts from my head.
    "Stop it..." I muttered to myself, as I had a tendency to get carried away.

    I walked over to my bed. My stomach wasn't hurting tonight, maybe as I took it easy during the day. I intended on napping for a few hours before going out tonight to stock up on supplies at Sainsburys.

    As I fell back into my bed after taking off my socks, trousers, shirt and coat, I let out an audible sigh.
    I looked down. My body was covered in red scratch marks from that Morphine. Don't think I'll be doing that again in a hurry. Although it was very helpful in an emergency or excruciating pain.
    Rolling over, I could see the time was now 18:00, so if I set my alarm for...02:00, I'd get my 8 hours of sleep, wake up refreshed and be able to go out in the dead of night.

    I lit the candle by my bed and read some Jack Kerouac's "On the road" to keep my mind occupied while I drifted off. The thought of being a tweaked-out Vagabond truly appealed to me, especially in an almost lawless City, and possibly Country.
    I had no idea what was outside the City limits.
    I had to find out.

    The room slowly turned black. I was out in a matter of minutes.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    Chapter 5.

    I sat bolt upright. Like I had planned, there was the 02:00 alarm. I was used to this routine, and I was immediately awake.
    Sitting on the edge of my bed I walked round my room to grab my bag and pack it.
    On my desk was the standard knife, torch, gloves, beanie hat, shemagh scarf and lighter. But I felt I'd need more.
    "Fucking..budge"
    The heavy oak drawer came open after a few tugs due to the damp, and I took it out and placed it on the oak floor. It all matched.

    My eyes scanned over an almost Tetris-like packed drawer of self defence and infiltration items. Before the outbreak i would often practice picking locks after buying a lock picking set at the age of 15, spending time online and buying a few assorted padlocks at the local DIY store. I knew which were the more secure ones, and which models had security pins. Plenty of practice under my belt.
    I placed the leather pouch on my bed.

    The Glock 17 and homemade silencer. Definitely coming with me, just in case. I slid the magazine out and double checked the safety. Not in the most convenient of places, I know.
    "Still full. Good".
    It clunked as I put it on the dark floor. The silencer was a crude construction, consisting of an old 500ml water bottle stuffed full of insulation, sealed at the bottom with a thick layer of duct tape. It needed to be replaced after about 5 shots, but if it needed to be used, then it had to be. I needed to sort out the silver top slide.I was considering spray-painting it black to reduce glare.
    That was a project for another time.

    Medication. Always important. My regulation black leather zip-up wallet I always carried with me since I was 16, and drinks were sitting on the floor already to keep the drinks cool, at least. I packed 3 drinks into my bag along with the earlier items, and checked to make sure I was still ok for pills.
    Co-Codamol, Tramadol, Valium. Check. 10 of each. If ever I ran into trouble, it was sometimes useful to bribe my way out.

    I took along a bottle of snow, too. It'd melt in my bag and make a nice change from the milkshake-like drinks I survived on as they have a bad habit of giving me a nasty tasting tongue and using up chewing gum and tongue scrapers/toothpaste to rid my mouth of a furry build-up.

    Getting dressed I prioritised the items. The knife and lockpick set went into my trouser pockets, torch went into my coat pocket and as always, the pills were put inside the coat as it had some internal breast pockets. Keep what matters closest to you.
    My watch now said the time was 02:08.
    I brushed my teeth with what little toothpaste I had left.
    Something else for the shopping list.

    Lacing up my boots to a firmness matched only by an American football, I was on my way. The bag contained all the other items, and it was on its way.

    Following the Cemetary route I had done a thousand times before, it was unusually quiet. No hum of vehicles, no chatter of Scouts or Patrols.
    This was odd. I still stuck to the ice cold stone wall though. I hate the quiet - simply because it gives you the illusion things are OK when in reality, they can be far from.
    Coming out of the cemetary, now that the gates were no longer tended to at 19:00hrs, I made a beeline for the back-alleys to keep my exposure to a minimum. Weaving through, effortlessly, I walked heel-to-ball of my foot consistantly which wasn't the most comfortable way of manouvering, but certainly th e most quiet. I recall reading somewhere online about using carpet rectangles taped to your shoes or boots to reduce noise, and I spent some time debating it as I kept walking.
    I ended up entering an alleyway, looking straight at my target, a 90 degree angle to the front of the shop, not far from the Cathedral or the old Council Offices that once kept this place relatively peaceful and clean.

    Turns out there were patrols. Right in the centre of town.
    Right where I was headed.
    "Fuck", I whispered under my breath. I sat in an arched alleyway opposite my target, observing the two dark-clad Scouts smoking a cigarette and chatting in a muffled way. MP5 Submachune guns slung over their chests and one with a radio backpack.
    I waited.
    "Yeah there was an incident.." I could make out. But the rest was muffled under their shamaghs. My breath was starting to make mine damp. I had come all this way undisturbed and now this?

    Minutes felt like hours. I eventually sat on a sidestep after squatting began to give me cramp, transfixed on these two tal-


    A noise came from behind me.
    Footsteps.
    If I was caught, there's no excuse for being out with the items I had on me.
    The only thing that came to mind were expletives and fragmented thoughts on where to run.
    I had no idea how far away the noises were.

    Nothing for a few seconds.

    I could run, or stay.

    Run?
    Stay?
    Run.

    Behind me was an old Hotel with an open multi storey car park, and after peeking round the corner of the wall I was behind, I could see a person walking backwards, surveying the rooftops.
    This was my chance while their back was turned.
    Making a nice set of quick crunchy footsteps I ran to the car park and could immediately tell I was heard.
    Now where to hide?
    Cars and locked doors. Cars with alarms. Inaccessible doors.

    "Shit, nice one" my mind screamed at me.
    The footsteps following me were now at a jogging pace.
    "Oh sod it" I whispered in my mind, removing my bag and slinging it under a car, with me shortly joining. We slid on the tarmac under the chassis. It was pitch black, and I took solace in the fact there were no footsteps in the car park, minimising my chances of being caught.

    They were close.
    Lying under the car allowed me to catch my breath.
    They were really close now.
    I was aching and slightly grazed from the impact, looking all around me, but mostly at the entrance of the car park.

    My eyes caught a shadow.
    That shadow was short-lived as a torch was also added to the equation.
    I had been seen.
    Lying there, stretching my neck towards the movement at an obscure angle, I could see up to the knees of the Scout looking at doors and testing them.
    "All locked..told ya" I thought.

    Logically he followed my thought process.

    The cars.

    I had now resigned myself to the fact I was going to have to fight my way out, but what's the use if they could contact one another at the touch of a radio transmission button in a silent City?
    One by one, the light from the torch shone under the cars.
    Slowly, methodically, I put my hand on my knife in my pocket.
    Or should I go for the pistol? It would leave me with 4 shots and I don't want to leave a dead body here.

    Instinctively I rolled under to the next car, leaving my bag.

    The Scout was now 3 cars away, only 2 from my bag. His footsteps sounding of the march of death, coming ever closer. I was a gonner for sure.

    I wondered why I was slowly becoming wetter. It had dawned on me that the cold weather had burst a pipe under the car and fluid was draining onto my coat.

    "Oh fuck this" I thought, "just what I need".

    The light sweeping under the chassis of the parked cars, left by their once loving owners until the City was evacuated, then sealed off.

    The figure backed off.
    A sigh of relief washed over me like a refreshing wave of calm.
    Only to be interrupted by the light now being shone one car away from my bag.
    I had to do something.

    "Delta report in. Report in Del-"
    "This is Delta." the figure replied.
    "Remember that incident last night?"
    "Of course, who could forget it?" he replied. He sounded young. Almost Conscript level. My age.
    "We need some backup. You've got the tools" the voice crackled over the radio.
    "Ok, location?"
    "The Mall, by the corner of Marks and Spencers"

    These were the two Sentries I saw earlier. I tried not to sigh too audibly. That was a close call. I had to keep the oxygen levels sufficient for my pounding heart.
    I let out a muffled sigh but to me it was of huge relief.

    I let him walk off sufficiently to roll back and grab my bag.
    I was soaked.
    Better that than dead though.
    I took my now wet and darkened coat off and hung it on a nail in the car park. I'd get it on the return journey, of course, removing my knife, pills and lockpicking set to put them into my dryer trousers, one of each in the pockets. the lockpick set and pills in the more secure thigh pockets and the torch in the regular right-hand pocket.

    The Sentry was long gone now, and I brushed myself off. Thermal clothes helped. They weren't perfect but were better than a regular shirt.

    On went my backpack and off I went to Sainsburys.

    Cautiously approaching the High Street, making sure to avoid the mentally noted CCTV hotspots, I made my way to the warehouse entrance doors. It wasn't difficult to spot the CCTV before the Infection came to the City. England was known to be one of the most heavily Close Circuit Televised areas in the developed World, and these sentient beings certainly influenced my journies at night - especially as they all had Infra Red capabilities and anti-smear plus bullet resistant glass in case somebody got cocky. I doubt the actual body of the cameras was protected. Just the lens. Anything to save money.
    I'd have to try one day.

    I knelt down, checking my angles to make sure they were clear. Making sure the Patrols didn't return to this spot. The last thing I'd need was the clang of stainless steel padlock on a large corrugated warehouse entrance shutter door.
    Out came the lockpick set. I knew it was an ABUS. I knew it wasn't going to be much of a challenge.

    I chose the slimline tension wrench and snake pick. I found it worked best for new locks. Slightly rusted to the damp of the snow getting inside, I had to really put some tension on the drum of the lock.
    Once that was secure, in went the pick.
    In a few seconds I established the lock had 6 pins. I could hear them click in the dead silence.
    1 down already.
    Wiggling and moving the pick toward the front of the lock, I pushed down.
    2 done.
    Pulling forwards I felt a security pin.
    Releasing tension to get round it, the rust helped as the pins didn't reset.
    3 done.
    Now the rest was easy. Every pin up to the security one is the harder of the lock.
    4, 5, 6.

    Click.

    I turned the tension wrench with a bit of force due to the rust, removed the padlock, kept it in my pocket to avoid being locked in and opened the door about a foot. Just enough space to throw my bag into the darkness, and roll in after it, pulling the shutter down behind me.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited November 2011
    Chapter 6.

    Silence.
    Rest.
    As I lay on the floor of the warehouse, I had a breath of relief, keeping it intentionally quiet just in case anyone had decided to call this place home. My sweaty wet clothing felt as though it would freeze. Concrete floors were never my favourite place to lie down, not least in this state. I lay there for a bit longer to listen for noises of any company I may run into.

    Rolling over and standing up, I grabbed my bag and fished round for my torch.
    Click.
    My eyes adjusted to the shelves of lightly dusted food and liquid boxes, scanning round.
    Dry store was where I needed to go. Experience in Kitchen work taught me that these things last a long time. canned food, rice, pasta and vacuum-sealed food. These were my target. I walked heel to toe once again and minimised light exposure whenever I could just in case of people.

    Aisle A, nope.
    B, not much.
    C, getting there, my torch darting to each of the Aisle signs.
    D, some electricals, now useless.
    E, Dry store.

    "Found ya" I whispered.
    Instantly I found Rice and Pasta. I had to think of walking back and noise. Tins wouldn't be ideal for transport, but would be ideal for storage and eating.
    I picked up a few packs of Beef Jerky, a 1KG bag of rice and some crackers.
    Placing all these into my bag, i could feel the weight. Walking further down the aisle, I shone my light up to the ceiling, way above my head. The shelves went up for metres and dust hanging in the air. A few pigeons had even made their home here. I avoided standing in the dried pigeon crap on the floor and continued to the end of the aisle. I wanted to see what was in the boxes. Maybe something useful.

    Squatting down I took my knife out and unclipped it, holding the torch in my other hand.
    My head darted to an area of the warehouse I heard a squeak and the patter of claws from.
    Damn mice.Piercing the now blistered tape holding the box together, this one in particular held tins of tomatoes.
    Not a fan of tomatoes. I know it's survival, but no thanks.
    Opening other boxes I came across Corned Beef and Soup. I took a few tins, vegetable and mushroom were my choice of flavour. May as well have one of Oxtail, too.
    The bag was heavy now. Heavy and noisy.
    Looking back into the boxes I saw some padding.
    "Why would you waste boxing space on tha-"
    I grabbed it and wrapped each tin in a single layer of bubble wrap, ripping off a piece of tape from the box to seal it.
    Repeating this for the tins, I now had 5 bubble wrapped tins of Soup at the bottom of my bag. I packed the items in a way that would take up the least space. Pulling the bag harnesses, I secured my food and made it snug.

    Deciding to take a walk into the actual store, I was surprised to see that it was still adequately stocked so I had a brief look around. I took a few batteries for my torch and condoms for whatever reason. Might find a girl, might need something to keep water in. Slowly traversing the aisles, I helped myself to a few sweets and a small bottle of Vodka. Good for trading and not only drinking, but also sterilising. On top of this, an energy drink. Before the infection I was partial to these. The orange, glucose-packed liquid was a welcome change to the bland taste in my mouth I usually have. I also decided to have some painkillers just for the hell of it. Unbuttoning my thigh pocket I breathed a comforted breath, knowing my lifesavers were safe, and slowly unzipped the small leather wallet.
    I was spoilt for choice. I avoided Valium when out on a mission such as this as I didn't want to get cocky and experience no anxiety whatsoever.
    Codeine was a bit of a sluggish drug, bu good for endurance, and Tramadol would give me seemingly endless bursts of energy.
    I took 90mg Codeine and 100mg Tramadol. An even balance of enduranceand energy, washed down with the lucozade.
    "Ah" I said, "Just like the old days".

    Checking the tills, there was no money. Either someone else got here before me, or the shop workers had a chance to take the money before being expelled for their own good - not that money is really of any use now. Depending on how widespread this infection is. I will have to move at some point. I was a but gutted inside. I wanted to find a load of cash just as it seemed to be the appropriate thing in this sort of world.
    "Maybe take all the bottle caps" I thought, thinking back to my pseudo-training on Fallout 3. I was always watching or playing Post-Apocalyptic things. Life After People, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the Walking dead, 28 Days and Weeks Later, The Colony. The list goes on. Not least the list of ebooks I had kept on my laptop. I was something of an internet hoarder. Thankfully I still had them all on hard copies as well as on an external Hard Drive.

    Walking through the eerily quiet aisles that once bustled with entranced shoppers was no longer an alien concept, as I broke from my thoughts of reminiscing. Nor was entering the "Restricted" areas. Back into the Warehouse I jumped up and down a few times just to see how my bag held up. Not much noise and weight which wasn't too hefty. Not a bad haul, considering I didn't eat much, and lived off my medication.

    Medication.

    The bag clipped round me and was secure. It needed to be a tight fit to avoid noise.
    Heading over to the end that I entered the warehouse, I took the padlock from my pocket and turned off the torch. The last thing I wanted to be was something like a whack-a-mole popping my head out from under the raised shutter door.

    Taking my small reflective mirror from my bag and holding it at a 45 degree angle from underneath the heavy door, I looked around with a minimal amount of noise and exposure.
    Left, nothing.
    Ahead, nothing.
    Right, from what I can make out - nothing.
    I always carried a big ziplock bag of survival items in the uppermost pocket of my backpack, including an SAS survival guide, a lighter, electrical tape, firecrackers and a permanent marker.

    I opened the shutter further, just enough for me to slide under and kept the padlock handy. Turning round, I slowly let the shutter down keeping noise to a minimum and scrunching my face involuntarily, and locked it, pulling back on the padlock to confirm. I decided running off to a nearby alleyway was the fastet way to escape. Fuck noise, I needed to get off the beaten track.

    Medication was playing on my mind. It doesn't matter how much I have, as more is always welcome.
    There are 2 Pharmacies in the immediate vicinity. One happened to be right next to the alleyway I was currently in at the end of the High Street. Not much snow or sludge was in the narrow passage, but as with Sainsburys, the best way should surely be in through the rear. I was lucky in the sense that my City is still very Medieval, and so still retains the alleyways and sometimes overhanging Jacobean houses.

    The alleyway offered me some cover as I planned my route. I just had to hop a fence and whatever was on the other side of the wall, I had to just land on - softly, to minimise noise.
    The roads around were clear and placing both hands on the top of the fence, and my right, more dominant foot on the fence, I pushed myself up and over landing on an industrial bin with a nice amount of snow on to buffer my landing.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2011
    Chapter 7.

    I slid off the bin and checked inside them. If I can make my job easier without breaking into the Pharmacy then so be it.
    Thanks to my easy landing, the other side came out and the lids of the bins were damn heavy. Out came the torch to look inside the containers.
    "Shit". The snow slid off and made a muffled tumbling noise.
    I stood still with the lid half open and the torch off. I spent a few minutes waiting for someone to scream "FREEZE!" or something similar.
    Nothing.
    I clicked the torch on and looked into one of the three bins. The first one was full of regular recycling. cardboard and the like.
    On to the next one.
    Medical waste. A goldmine. Just avoid the faded yellow sharps bins.
    Heaving out a bag, I put it on the ground and cut it open. A few packs of medicine were in there. Mostly antibiotics which I was unable to have due to my Crohn's, but some painkillers too. Mostly over the counter things like Paramol and Nurofen. Not worth my while. I needed to to into the shop.

    Placing the now cold torch gently between my brittle-feeling teeth, I took out the lockpick set and as before, placed in the tension wrench and snake pick, but this time things were a lot easier.
    The door just opened.
    Slowly, but it moved. It certainly wasn't locked. Someone had obviously been here before me.
    As the lockpick set went away into my pocket and my eyes sat under a hardened set of bemused-looking and scared eyebrows, the knife came out.
    My eyes adjusted and the torch was off.

    Silence.
    But I didn't trust it. No way.
    I had entered through the back of the shop, so right next to the medical supplies with the till ahead. Some medication was bound to be out of date as the 3 month holding period was coming up and some were brought in earlier than other meds.
    My ears pricked up.

    I wasn't alone. Someone was either snooping around or living here. I immediately thought a drug Addict purely on the fact that an addicts dream would be to live in a Pharmacy, and their lack of attention to detail with regards to the door confirms it to me. This City had a Heroin addict problem and these usually unsavoury characters were common sights before the Infection broke out. In a way, they looked like the walking infected. Skinny, pale, paranoid bouts of anger and a disregard for everyone they came into contact with, not to mention pinpoint pupils and pale, tightened skin.
    I immediately dropped lower to the floor. I had to keep low to avoid being seen and to move slower. Now crouching I could take my time, listening for the shuffles and coughs. Eyes wide open to let in what light I could see, and what shapes I could make out.
    I squatted under the till in a small cubby hole. The shuffling came closer, and my hairs stood on end. Adrenaline was running high as this could be an ugly situation. SO far I could only make out one person here through the noise.

    My hand gripped the knife harder, squeezing the deathly, defensive life from it.
    My eyes had now adjusted to the darkness, and I could make out a foot and a leg. Scuffed trainers and ragged trousers.
    Definitely a junkie of sorts.
    My mind was racing. Did they have a weapon? He must do as he lived here, as I'm the invader and Pharmacies are valued places in these times.I'm the one he will lunge at.
    "Valium...morphine..Methadone..fuck, what to sell and what to take? I can't sleep for shit" I heard him say in a gruff voice.
    His feet shuffled towards my face. A few inches away, the stench made me want to gag, but I had to hold it back. The dirt on the floor was making any sort of movement inpossible. I was now squatting under the till, with a hand over my mouth and a knife in the other.
    "I need to sell something..those fuckers will kill me otherwise"
    He was involved in something. serious. Almost deadly. I felt like a fly on the wall. He must have heard me.
    Was he playing dumb? Or was he genuinely dumb.
    I gagged. The slightest noise alerted him. It would have alerted anyone in the whole shop.
    "The fuck was that? COME ON!" he shouted to an invisible person as far as he was concerned, backing off and his arms outstretched.
    I couldn't see anything in his hands.
    Not only my mind, but now my heart was racing.
    He turned round facing my direction and was probably scanning the shop. Walking along the counter area, he took almost forever, and then returned, looking as though he was stooping down to look under the counter where I was.
    I could make him out to be squatting down to try and see me.
    Instinct took over and my right arm jabbed out. Coincidently the arm which had the hand which had the knife in.
    The wailing deafened me. After so long living and operating in almost silence, it was a shock to my system.
    I had stabbed him in the stomach, and I couldn't risk him harming me. I had to finish him off. The dark didn't help, but I pushed forward and strained my legs on the counter backboard to push him to the ground, knocking over some medications from the shelf behind his position.
    I raised my right hand and the knife, aiming for the vital organs or veins. Ideally I wanted to cut his achillies heel, dropping him, but I had no time to be picky. Instinctively, I took my left hand and getting flashbacks from hunting animals as a Child, I covered his mouth and turned his head, muffling his screams, taking the knife and pushing the point into his thin neck, aiming for the major vein or artery and moving it around, feeling the blade in his throat. He grabbed me, throwing ever-weakening punches at my face but I knew I would win. My heart beating ever faster and his ever slower. The adrenaline was pumping fully now and I went into shock for a split second while I waited for him to die.
    The warm blood spurting over my hands and the shop floor. my knees began to slide, but so was his life. It's kill or be killed if you don't have the time and setting to negotiate. All the time his muffled yells for help were pointless. I assumed nobody else was in the Pharmacy as they would have heard. My targets life was rapidly depleting, and I took the knife out of his neck, one last spurt of blood and gasp for life accompanied.
    My clothes were now covered in blood, especially my trousers. Then I remembered my coat. It wasn't 200 yards from the Pharmacy, so I can't forget it, as it will help cover up the stains.

    With a corpse on the floor, I checked his pockets for anything worthwhile, and mine as well to take out the torch.
    I stopped.
    The last thing I needed was to be stabbed by a needle. I opened the pocket, and looked inside with the torch. Nothing was in his jacket. His trousers only had a snack bar in.
    "Useless". My mind started to panic and I had to keep my cool. He was obviously in a disagreement with other people, so they may come back and check at any time. They too, could be wandering the streets, possibly watching me. I'd run into some Homeless and Junkies before the infection, and although they weren't great fighters, they could now be better organised and even have weapons.
    As I thought of this, I looked through the shelves. I looked at what I came here for. The medication.
    Ideally I needed some medical drinks and painkillers, as well as some benzodiazepines would be great.
    After being a regular at my Pharmacy before the outbreak, I knew exactly where to look. Within a minute I managed to find a box containing 100 Zomorph tablets of 10mg each, 6 boxes of Valium, leaving the others behind I took the 4 boxes, 2 being 5mg and the other 2 being 10mg. The most abundant pills were Tramadol and Solpadol. I looked around for a bag and filled it equally with the boxes of pills. There must have been a good 20 of each. In total that's 2,000 Solpadol and Tramadol pills. Enough to keep me going. I had second thoughts about the antibiotics. I decided to take a few boxes, latex gloves, scales and some dressings in case I needed to barter or I injure myself. It was clear the Methadone was being tapped into either by the guy that was now lifeless and stiffening on the cold floor, or by others who had broken in. Opiates will be ever-increasingly hard to come by in this world. I needed to take as many as I could.

    Now for the real goldmine. Medical drinks.
    I walked further down the dispensary aisle to see if they had any, as Pharmacies tend to hold in a few crates for emergencies. My torch began to wane, so I used it sparingly. Rummaging round my bag I changed the batteries, but instead used the lighter and some cotton wool in the shop to make a temporary torch. I also grabbed 3 tubes of Arm and Hammer toothpaste as well as a new toothbrush, stripping the boxes to save on space.
    A pile of crates was sat right in the corner of the ever-increasingly bloody floor. I rushed over and opened one.
    Nothing.
    The next had nothing either.
    The last, however, had 12 drinks in. Enough for 3 days as they are packaged in 4. I stuffed an extra 2 in my trouser pockets for the journey back and the morning. The more, the better.

    I had to take them. I had a fair amount of things now and if anyone was caught looting, I had no idea what the punishment was, but I didn't want to dwell on it.
    I put 12 of the drinks into my backpack as they were about the same weight as 3 cans of soup. It isn't going to be easy taking it back, but I had to.

    One last thing.
    Taking the cotton wool torch, I walked around the shop floor and found the bed which belonged to the man I had killed not 5 minutes before. My knees were still warm from his blood. The shop was nicely insulated.
    There were a few needles scattered around the bed, dirty clothes, a ragged old book which didn't seem to interest me with this adrenaline level and a small lockbox.
    I prized it open with my knife and the lock sheared off.
    "These things are never secure".
    Inside were a few baggies, a walkie talkie, and £60 in notes. I had no idea if money was worth anything, but I took it, as well as the baggies. I assumed it was Heroin, so fuck it. Nice to find a treat after this eventful night out.
    I put the baggies into my socks, 2 in each, and took the cash and walkie talkie. The thought of batteries got to me, but I was unable to find a charging dock anywhere.
    The cotton wool torch was dwindling, so I made a beeline back to the way I came in and threw the now defunct torch into the corpse of the body of the unknown junkie. As I left, I locked the door using the key in the lock on the inside, and took the key with me, putting it into my sock along with the baggies of skag I took.
    As far as I was concerned, this is now my place.

    The bin yard, as I had come to know it, was where I arranged my loot.
    I emptied both the bags onto the floor, the cardboard boxes placed strategically onto the plastic shopping bag to avoid them getting damp.
    Placing the heavier items, such as the wrapped tins of soup at the bottom, I used the dressings to buffer them. After that came the lighter food items such as the crackers and beef jerky. I packed the boxes of tablets as tight as I could on top of the food. They didn't all fit, so I used the other compartment to hold the drinks and the pills on top of them. This as well as the lockpick set,
    I reconsidered.
    I took one of the drinks and popped some of the Solpadol. 90mg codeine and 400 calories. Should sort me out for the walk home, plus lessen the weight ever so slightly.
    Adjusting the straps, i got a good fit, but a heavy one. A damn heavy one.
    I clipped the bag around me to secure it further, and warily climbed on top of the bin I had used to help me get into the yard, then onto the fence, almost leaping off and landing with bent knees, ninja style. Slight ego trip.
    Immediately veering to the left, I walked down the alleyway, adjusting to the weight, and planned out how to return to my coat.
    Pausing for a few seconds, I checked to make sure the High Street was clear.
    It wasn't. A few Soldiers could be seen in the distance with a Humvee and mounted Machine Gun. Three were standing around while two walked further off.
    I decided against getting my coat. It could wait. I would just have to not be as warm on the way back, but then again the Codeine would kick in, and I wouldn't be as weighed down and sweaty. Not too bad. I just needed to get that damn coat soon. It had a lot of sentimental value to it.

    Walking up the road parallel to the High Street gave me some cover from whatever was happening just over the buildings blocking me from the group of Military Law enforcers.
    As I reached the open ground halfway up the hill, the Codeine had kicked in.
    I'd missed it. The temptation to sit on a bench was overwhelming, but I just had to get home. That damn curfew.
    The weight of the bag had kicked in now. I was getting tired and my legs were starting to shake.
    "Not far you tart, keep on trucking!" I whispered, matching the syllables to my heavy steps. Being in the middle of a park, I felt vulnerable, as if someone was watching me, but I harnessed that fear, and over the course of a few minutes, managed a good jog out of there. Not far to go now. I cracked out one of the medical drinks and drank it, giving me much needed calories. Keeping the bottle until I found a bin, as I didn't want to leave a trace, apart from a thin veil of footsteps.
    I took the relatively easy route out and walked along the pavement on the last stint to mine.
    Taking the early entrance, which meant some steps but being out of the way, I trapsed across the now frozen snow, and made a beeline for my front door. I fished for the key in the smaller, uppermost compartment of my bag and opened the door. By far the biggest challenge was getting up the stairs. The wet, heavy, effort-ful clumping of my boots combined with an Opiate sweat-covered back and a bag about a third of my own body weight just exhausted me. Looking at my watch it was now 04:30am, and the electricity comes on at 05:00 until 11:00, then from 18:00 until 21:00. I could wait half an hour to have a shower.
    Front%20door.png

    Opening the door again to my room.
    I couldn't be bothered.

    The door slamming behind me gave me the cue to turn my bag upside down, take off my shoes, empty my now sweaty socks and strip off.

    "I'll sort it in the morning" I thought.
    No distraction was needed, I used the new toothbrush and Arm and Hammer paste, had a fresh mouth, and slept very well. Very well indeed.
  • blindbatblindbat Regular
    edited December 2011
    MOAR! wonder where the hell u went.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2011
    Haha I've just been busy as hell and revising chapters to make them more immersive. When you write a story you have to make sure not to contradict yourself ;) don't worry, I'm on Chapter 12 so plenty to come :)
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2011
    Chapter 8.

    I woke up at 11am, just catching the last of the hot water for a short shower. One of the luxuries of staying put, for the time being at least.

    I walked around my spacious room in my underwear, realising I need to do some laundry soon, and took stock of the goods I looted yesterday.
    Each thing had its own respective part of the room. taking all the medication, checking it and putting it in the box under my bed, it was now almost full.
    Next, the food. Cutting the bubblewrap off the soup tins and taking the crackers, sweets and vodka, I put them in my cupboard, and the vodka in my fridge. Despite the intermittent power, it still kept some sort of temperature control. The medical drinks also went in there. It's just a luxury. Room temperature doesn't bother me too much.

    Grabbing my clothes from the night before, I spotted the bags of heroin from the pharmacy. Laughing to myself I added them, somewhat ironically, to the medical box. Maybe for later, I thought.
    The power was off, and that meant the laundrette was too. Living on campus means you still have some luxuries. Access to transport, laundry services, security devices, master keys and a maintenance workshop. I needed to make some kind of renewable energy source.
    Grabbing a piece of A1 flipchart paper and one of the many pens I had strewn in the drawers.
    I was no Mechanic or Engineer. The most I knew was how to set up a Sentry on Team fortress 2 or make a spiked baseball bat.
    Energy comes from batteries, so I thought about car batteries. There are plenty around the City and immediate vicinity. The Student car parks are a goldmine. They do weigh a lot, though. I remember that from my younger years.
    But how to recharge them? I lived on top of a hill which was windy so I thought about a windmill. It's just setting it up and making it that was the concern.

    I zipped up my clothes and took my lockpick set to just go to the car park, and I found 3 batteries with some charge left in them. I didn't want to go overkill. I took them back to my room one at a time, and then walked to the Maintenance workshop out the back of my abode.
    It wasn't too cold today. Not bad for a December morning. If anything it was a nice break from the bleak, miserable snow-soaked underfoot I was used to.
    The door was locked, which was no surprise. It was bad enough trying to get around campus before the infection struck, as staff were that security conscious. Walking round the back of the building, I did find a first-floor window that was open and a ladder. Putting my hands in my pocket to think about going in - I felt my lockpick set, and got to work.

    The midday sun was shining through the dusty air like a beacon, and I looked around the various lockers, drawers and cupboards. This place was the centre for the plumbers, electricians and other mechanic-based personnel on my campus, and so was a goldmine so far as I was concerned.
    I needed a way to recharge these damn batteries, so looked in the electricians room.
    Scavenging through piles of wires, some of which I took, as well as wire strippers, I also found a heavy black box. Almost like an amplifier. flipping it over it turned out to be a transformer. This was it. I needed to convert 12v into 240v in order to run anything on the mains.
    I left with the transformer, assorted wires as well as a spanner, philips and flathead screwdriver and a pair of wire clippers.
    I just needed a way out now. The main part of the office was where they would all have lunch, as I learnt when I worked at the university, and a box on the wall caught my eye. Alas it was locked, but it looked as though it may hold keys in.
    Placing the goods I found on the table, I prized the box open with the flathead screwdriver.
    Nothing.
    I decided to find a way of getting out while keeping the building at least somewhat secure. I settled on the fire exit. No alarm as there was no power, and I could push it shut. It almost seemed the natural way out.

    Waddling back to mine with clanking pockets of tools, dragging wires and clutching a transformer I placed it all on my room floor, almost set up as if it were going to be put together. I kept the battery wires which came in handy as I could daisy chain them all.

    I just needed a way to make some renewable, constant power.
    Solar? Hardly. There's no solar panels anywhere that i've seen.
    Wind? Possible. Moreso than solar.

    Just how?

    I sat on my bed and booted up my laptop. I still had a few Gigabytes of ebooks covering survivalist topics, some of which were long-term plans such as renewable energy.
    "Please have something on wind power" I pleased to my empty room.

    It took a while to boot up, as I was flicking through my CD wallets I had placed on a shelf I came across one for "staying put". In other words, not being on the move.
    "That should have it" I said with a smile.
    Slapping the CD drive shut, I loaded up the root of the disk and searched for something relating to energy.

    water...nope...solar...nope..
    There was one file on wind power. Opening it, I had a sparkle in my eye and a smile on my face. It was for a very sophisticated system probably written by some over-paranoid Survivalist, but the concept was all I needed.

    In laymans terms to someone such as me, I needed a windmill-style setup, with an alternator and wires running to the batteries which were wired in a daisy chain formation.
    Simple in theory.

    I had the batteries, wires and transformer. I just had to construct the windmill.

    Heading outside I thought about my options, pacing around the maintenance workshop yard with my pockets containing the screwdrivers and spanner.
    "Well an alternator isn't hard to get" I thought, and went to one of the cars I had taken a battery from earlier. I had a vague idea what to look for, and after a few minutes I found it. Greasy and well secured, it didn't hold up much resistance against my spanner. I felt like I had just invented the wheel.

    Taking it to the entrance of my abode, I rubbed my hands on some wet grass to try and get rid of the grease. It sort of worked.

    Up next was the windmill. I had the idea of using plumbing for the stand. Some ABS or PVC pipe should do the trick, so I looked around for some I could scavenge.

    As luck would have it, a drainpipe was on the maintenance workshop. Out came the screwdriver and off came the pipe. I decided on it being about 6ft in length. I just had to secure it to my room wall on the outside. I could always use the ladder or hop onto the roof. Dropping the drainpipe off by my door, I returned to get the ladder and do the same.

    Next, the blades to get the wind. I needed strength and ease of manipulation to cut and adjust at a 45 degree angle. The design in the ebook said to make a tail-piece to keep it in the direction of the wind as well. More of a headache, but I decided on fence panels.
    Breaking back into the workshop I took out a saw and pulled off 3 fence panels. It all seemed to come naturally now. I had no experience of engineering, and now I'm making something people would have paid a small fortune fore pre-infection.
    Now there's a moral boost.

    I got to work cutting the fence panels in half lengthways, and before I knew it I had 6 slightly damp, but well-cut blades for the windmill. I put them next to the alternator, pipe and ladder.
    I made the base for the blades from a smaller diameter drainpipe on the building next to the maintenance workshop. The cleaners building. Screwing a piece of MDF lying around through the top, I placed it in the 6ft length of drainpipe and it turned round well for the most part. Not perfect, but it would do.
    Now to mount the blades to eha alternator. What came to mind were 6 screws and the already apparent plate on the alternatir, next to which was the cog system.

    I spent a good hour screwing the fence panels on, using their natural angles to my advantage and getting between a 30 and 45 degree angle on the blades. Taking a step back I admired my handiwork. It was all coming together rather well. I decided for now to give the tailpiece a swerve as I was tired as it was, and wanted to make sure it worked anyway.

    After a few journies to the top of the stairs and into my room to take the equipment, I then went around the front with the ladder to get it outside my window.
    I then went back and brought the blades and alternator with me. I kept the mounting brackets for the drainpipe, and screwed them into the damp brick with a few screw plugs. It took what seemed forever in comparison to finding and creating the actual turbine. Plus being on the ladder allowed for me to get a sense of the wind direction, so it was easy enough to set up, as long as I got the thing secured.

    At last I screwed in the last bracket and gave it a wobble to see if it stayed secure.
    I leant back and admired what I thought was the impossible.

    Rushing down the ladder I took it back round to the maintenance workshop to stop anyone getting any ideas, and ran into my room, opening the window and hooking up the 2 scavenged battery cables to the alternator, then getting the batteries correct order. Now all that I needed was the transformer to work.
    I hoped, as I put the wires from the battery onto the black box, and waited.

    And waited.

    A light!

    24 volts, it read.

    Not bad at all! I was beyond impressed. It's amazing what desperation drives people to do. I plugged my laptop into the transformer outlet and before I could say "Eureka!" I had the charging symbol on the screen. The wind turbine was rotating furiously just as the sun was setting. No clouds, so hopefuly a windy night.

    Keeping the laptop in, I let it charge and enjoyed the fruits of my labour, also plugging in a low wattage CFL bulb to illuminate my room when regular power was unavailable.

    I began to think about where to go if I needed to find family or see how far the infection had spread. I had access to a car, yet no formal license. Marshal law was enforced so I had to get out without them seeing. Checkpoints were everywhere.

    I could always walk, but I was a long way from anywhere I knew anyone. An Army base was down the road where I once worked for a short stint and where a Family friend was based.
    I could always try there.

    Walking over to the sink I had a splash down wash then brushed my teeth, returning to bed to watch a few episodes of Archer using my new power outlet as I could plug my external Hard Drive in. It was as if the world was back to normal for a short while.

    Chapter 9.
    I woke up in a cold sweat at 04:00, not even realising I had drifted off. The laptop was still on, just stopped playing anything. I used to be the sort of guy who would always have music on the go, as I would hate my own company and silence. My mind was another being to my body.
    Strange dreams had plagued my sleep, mostly revolving around being a target for looters or just the Military in general. A few thoughts of the eyes of the man I killed appeared as well, especially this night. I knew the local Barracks very well as I used to work there before the outbreak and so I knew the latterwas not going to happen. Sure, we Civilians may not be worth much, but the only hope of survival and Humanity to continue lay on our shoulders.

    A new project was needed. I couldn't while away the days in effectively, a studio flat. I craved adventure and to see what had happened to the rest of the place I lived. My City was under Marshal law, full of the dead and dying and I kept getting urges to escape. It was bad enough before the Infection hit as I would never stay still. Always working or walking. Never sitting still, physically or mentally.

    Moving from London at an early age, I had no real sense of what "home" was. I was always on the move, walking vaswt distances, only to end up back in my flat. This went for pre-Infection times and it was returning to me again.
    Flicking the switch on the light, I sat on my bed and looked around. In essence my room was an airy space, full of medical supplies, a few items of value, my University bag, a laptop, batteries and tools. I had no formal wardrobe as I would just change clothes every 2 days and give them a sink wash.
    My mind began to look at travelling further.
    My body soon followed.
    What was it like out there, beyond the City walls? Ask anyone who knew me a few months before and they would tell you I was well prepared for the Apocalypse, which this was. A few scavenged weapons here and there. I really wanted to follow the story of Jack Kerouacc in my book, but equally I didn't want to leave where I had settled.

    I paced around the cold Oak floor in nothing but my boxer shorts. It was quite refreshing. Making a mental list of what I should take had I decided to leave. My mind couldn't stay on the same thought for more than a few seconds.
    "Bug out ba-, weapons..transpor, oh fuck, medication...fuel?"
    Flitting around I walked to my sparse bookshelf. I had a notebook I once used called the "A-Book", standing for no less than "Apocalypse Book". It had Survival tips I had learnt from friends and had seen in the many PDF files I had collected over the years.
    Saved me going through them all.

    Gotcha, I thought, as I fingered the notebook from my shelf.
    I went back to bed, laying down to read and noticing the cold dampness my duvet had to it. I'd just have to lie on the duvet, instead.

    Chapter 10.
    Things were getting boring. I decided to go and see george to discuss life and the future as soon as I woke up. It was early, being only 08:00am.

    Usually I'd awake with a smile on my face and a desire to do something, but my bipolar had taken a turn for the worst. I always want to escape when it's like this, and usually I want to escape from someone or something - but there's nothing here other than curfews, martial law and death.
    I longed for the open road.
    "Fuck my projects" I said.
    Neglecting to take a shower, I walked to my clothes pile from last night and just slung them on. I only took my key and a few medical drinks with some pills.

    On went the beanie hat I always loved.

    Heading for the door I turned round
    "May as well take something for George"
    I picked up a baggie of Heroin and the USB drive he had given me some weeks before. Deciding to put some new information and some ebooks on there,I hope I could at least return the favour.

    They transferred in no time.
    The baggie and USB drive went into my jacket pocket. Always my Harrington. It felt strange not to be laden with self defence items and that heavy coat I had left behind.
    I walked to the door, clumping my boots on the Oak floor. If I left, I was going to miss this place. It seemed almost Royal.
    The door squeaked, then banged as it shut behind me. Turning round, I locked it, and put my hands in my pockets to head down to Town.

    "Fuck me, this snow has got relentless" I muttered as my face was being slashed by the blinding white.
    "Kinda regret bringing a scarf now"
    I had walked down the main road I lived on and reached the steep incline of the hill. It was always treacherous in these conditions. Bad enough at night.
    I had almost gotten used to the fact I talk to myself. With no contact other than seeing George about once a fortnight in order for me to collect enough reading material, I had to make do.I felt like an outsider. Back to my Night Ops roots.
    Observing.
    Just this time, everybody was. Nobody was exempt apart from those who hadn't prepared. I was always researching survival methods, bug out bag plans and post-apocalyptic survival theories. Like I said, I was seen as a bit of an outcast, but I had a feeling this time would come. The world was heading to shit and I began to hate it. My moods would swing, my Crohn's would too, and for days on end I'd sit in my room and pretend I was the only person alive.
    In a way it prepared me.
    I just never expected it so soon. I'm only 21. I should be enjoying the world and exploring.

    I wanted to. I had to before I went stir-crazy like Zac Hobson in "The Quiet Earth".
    God. I even knew the characters off by heart. That's how much I let it consume me. This whole preparedness.
    I just couldn't prepare for the boredom. The Family and Girlfriend situation were fine. I've pretty much given up on the latter, but I'd be intrigued to know where my Family are. Or what was outside this well defended City of mine.

    I had reached the High Street. Relative ease as the curfew was not in effect. A totally different scene struck me now. Nothing like night.
    People were lining the streets, huddling round one another talking about what was going on in the Community or what could have caused this.
    "Damn. I hope George is in" I said.
    "George?" someone said next to me.
    "Yeah, George Shaw"
    "Oh, I was just hoping you had seen or heard about my Husband" the frail, cloth-laden woman. Her almost patchwork coat reminded me of the make do or mend things my Nan would often tell me about in the Second World War.
    "I'm sorry Ma'am, I've not". I hurried away. The High Street was literally alive with people. I had never seen so many, or expected so many, to be here. Or alive.
    Soldiers intermingled with the crowd, buying items from stalls set up and talking with groups of people. And there's me thinking they were all bad and out to kill us. Still, I kept my distance.

    A bigger crowd caught my eye up ahead, near the cathedral.
    "HEATHENS REPENT!" I heard an elevated man scream
    "Oh God, here we go" I muttered. My City was a religious place before the outbreak, and so some survivors had taken it upon themselves to see the events as a Religious occurrence.
    "I didn't get too close, but close enough to hear and see the people in the crowd.
    "FOLLOW US FOR SALVATION! REPENT YOUR SINS AND BE SAVED FROM THE WRATH OF OUR LORD GOD!"
    To the side of him was a stall made from wood and a few pallets where a man was selling what looked like handbooks. A new Bible? I didn't stay around, plus I didn't see anyone there I recognised. I never stopped walking. Like hell I'd be caught up in that crowd.

    I was still in shock at the people. To me, the City was dead apart from george and a few Junkies as far as I knew. George was old and frail, I couldn't imagine him being in this relative hustle and bustle of the High Street and Cathedral Grounds. I had obviously isolated myself so much.

    I found George's Road.
    10 passed.
    15 also went.
    20.
    30.
    And there I was. 32. I turned into the driveway and knocked on the door.

    I waited.

    I looked around, squinting through a window.
    Suddenly I lurched back as the door creaked open and a pale face looked at me from inside. He had lost weight
    "Oh get in here you antisocial sod"
    but he was still george.

    He unclipped all the locks and chains, and before I had a chance to ask him what the commotion was about nearby he asked if I had gone to the Market.
    "Gone? More like ran into. Why was there nobody out the other day I walked around?" I quickly asked as I took my boots off.
    "Oh you need to pay more attention. There's a Community noticeboard as well as a short-band Radio frequency. They talk about all the goings-on on it. Can't believe you didn't know. All those other, unprepared suckers did!" he threw back at me.

    I actually felt quite humble for once in this new World.
    "George I need to ask your advice on something. It's kind of changed now I've seen life, but I was thinking, this City is getting to me. I'm a young Man. I want to explore. I want to go t-"
    "Stop right there", he interrupted.
    "Go on"
    "The roads out of and around here are declared free zones. You go there unprepared and you're a dead man. So be it, if you have your goals and mind set on it, but why leave the safety of the City? You've only just found out the true beauty of it".

    He had a point. But I just couldn't quell that feeling of adventure within me. I had always wanted to travel.
    Sometimes when I was in a crap mood, I'd go and get a boat to France, see how far I got on half my money and come back without telling anyone.

    George didn't know everything about me. About my weapons and plans to live out my fantasy of driving the roads, trading, shooting and exploring. As far as he was concerned I was just going to stay put and become someone who would lead the City, as I was always seen to be a promising individual as many had said.

    I looked at the dark, drab floor. Bits of paper littered it and piles of books were against each wall. Everything from History, Politics and Novels to some things he had written himself. We were similar in that sense, that I enjoyed to collect information and put it into a format that I could keep. It was fulfilling to see how much you really know, and how you can put it across.

    "Look George" I sternly demanded his attention, "Look at these"
    Pulling the small baggie of light brown Heroin and USB stick from my pocket I put them on his coffee table amongst the almost completely melted candles, a half empty Vodka bottle and a dogged old book on local history.
    "Taking the familiar USB stick, George picked up his netbook and turned it on.
    As he put the USB stick in, effortlessley his breath yearned, "Power is a rare commodity these days, and I don't just mean electricity"
    He was right. power in any form, from electricity to strength, knowledge and influence is all a resource in high demand. Those who could influence others would get better deals, control territory and become stronger in their roles while living in this new World.

    Waiting for the netbook to boot up, he kept it on his lap and lit the candle on the coffee table with a rattling, almost empty box of matches. His quivering hand trying to get the flame to make contact with the wick, and when it did, he let a feeble breath out and extinguished the match. A metaphor, if ever it were, for just how frail life is in this place.

    The baggie, only 1" by 1" was now under his gaze.
    "Ah, beats the morphine I gave you, does it?"
    "I wouldn't know" I quickly replied, trying to assure him I wasn't another junkie in the already growing legions within the City. People needed a crutch as life could easily become unbearable.
    "I've never tried it. I wondered if you could tell me the purity of it. If anything I was thinking of using it as a bartering tool, but you can keep this one as a gift. I know you'd appreciate it."

    Almost annoyingly, he put the baggie back down and looked longingly into the bright white screen of his netbook.
    "Sorry, just have to make the most of this lack of power" he blurted out as his fingers tapped away to log in and navigate to the root of the USB drive.
    "Holy Hell" he exclaimed.
    "Any good?"
    "Any good?! This is a goldmine! Even categorised! Thanks for this, kid"
    Looking at the keyboard and slowly placing his fongers on CTRL + A then dragging the files to his desktop folder, he let them transfer as he looked back at the baggie.

    "Well I suppose there's only one way to test the purity of this Heroin you...came across"
    "Oh yeah?" I enquired, my voice fluctuating as my curiosity grew.
    "Well I give you Morphine, so you know that I know how Opiates go..."
    Reaching besinde his chair he pulled up another small box, much like the one he gave me. It almost seemed handmade. It rattled in his shaking, frail hands, but after opening the lid I could see a glint.
    George pulled out a syringe, needle, blackened spoon and a length of silicon, the sort you would find on a slingshot.

    "You know what I'm getting at" he said expectantly.
    "Oh...right" I stuttered, and he prepared the almost ritual layout all Opiate abusers are familiar with.

    Putting the netbook on the floor and turning it off, handing me back the USB stick, he rolled up his sleeve of his cardigain. The stereotypical beige one that all old people wear, but instead with holes in and dirt on. it was only now that I realised just how he lives. A solitary soul, but a wealth of knowledge - hence why I come to him in times like this.
    "Can you tie this for me?" he asked, "I can't do it easily as I'm getting too old now".
    I stood up from the springless, deep chair and took the rubbery, silicon tubing and tied it round his withering biceps. They were once full of muscle, but years of living like this had withered it away to an almost rubbery, silicon skin.
    Looping it round, I tied it moderately tight and could see a few small pinprick marks on his inner elbow.
    "I see you're no stranger to this" I reluctantly said, but he knew I could see.
    "Well how else do you think i can give you a good answer?", his voice almost bursting with excitement as he dipped the needle into the bottle of Vodka to sterilise it.
    "No need to take risks in this world" he said, which seemed odd as the substance could kill him anyway.
    Flexing his arm he took the needle to a prominent vein, his pale, transluscent skin showing where to go, and drew up a small amount of blood, about 1ml.
    He let out a groan, as if this was some kind of sexual ritual.
    "Stage one done" he said as he took the spoon and gently managed to conjour up some spittle into it. I looked on, slightly alarmed, but hey, at least it was filtered. Somewhat.
    George picked up the bag and the discarded match, opening the end and taking out a small bump of the Heroin, but gave up as he just couldn't keep still for long enough, either through excitement or old age. Probably a combination of the two.
    "Can you -" he said, but I had already taken the two items from his hand as he inspected the tourniquet.
    I performed the removal of the Heroin in front of him to get enough. I'd never done this.
    "A bit more" as I put a small bump of the powder into the spit on the charred spoon
    In went the end of the match again, and I took about as half as much as I did last time.
    "That's perfect. Just a small amount. Mu tolerance has disappeared"
    I took the spoon, assuming he couldn't hold it still enough and he let the blood drip onto it, mixing it up and I gently heated it for a second over the flickering, dwindling flame. Removing the spoon, and repeating the process until the powder had become one with the liquid.

    Sucking up the dark brown liquid into the syringe, I handed it to him, and once again he dipped it into the Vodka. It almost seemed pointless now, as the liquid was far from pure.
    I hoped he would survive.
    Taking the syringe and pushing the plunger up to clear the barrel of air, he then pointed the twinkling point towards the already perforated left arm and pushed into his vein at a 45 degree angle.
    Then pushed the plunger down.

    A smile immediately came over his face, and after a few seconds he was almost a totally different person.
    "Good? This stuff is excellent! Where did you find it?"
    Oh just on someone" I replied, not giving away too much - "It must have been made locally. Maybe pharmaceutical level" as I can't imagine the Heroin import trade was booming in times like these.

    "Well it's certainly of a high purity, so a great item to sell...or use yourself if you want" george cheekily exclaimed, with a now needle-like twinkle in his eye.
    Placing the syringe onto the table with a knocking sound, he then removed the tourniquet and sank further into his already deep, cushioned chair.

    "If you want to leave, then leave" he said, "but I just worry for your safety. It seems like you want everything now, and you already have stability here"
    "I know, but I just crave to find out what has happened elsewhere. To see the carnage, to experience it and live my fantasy of survival, and maybe even find my Family"
    "Or not" George retorted. "Chances are they are gone. Alive, but gone".

    "I leave it up to you. But if you do decide to go, then don't take any chances. Pack well" he paused as a huge smile came over his face and I sat still looking as if he were talking to me.
    "So yes, I'll leave it up to you, but take no chances. Pack well, stay near to established Towns and arm yourself to the teeth. If the outside world is anything like here, just imagine it with no law enforcement, no morals, no sense of community. It's total Anarchy, but I wish you all the best."

    It seems George made my mind up for me. I wanted to leave already.
    "So what is the radio frequency for these market days?" I asked as I stood up and grabbed a scrap of paper from my pocket and a pen from his book-laden shelves.
    "109.6AM or on the Town's website" george murmered, nodding away happily "It's quite sporadic, so stay tuned. I'd suggest buying some tools and other items in the market here sometime. The Town website is-"
    "Is the homepage for anyone within the City limits, I know"
    "You got it kid. All the best"

    I let myself out, and left without him locking the door right behind me. I suppose in daylight he didn't have to worry - as much.
  • fagfag Regular
    edited January 2012
    Awesome reading! Don't mean to nitpick, but Glock 17's have no manual safety lever..Just a sort of lever on the trigger itself that keeps the gun from accidentally firing when dropped. It's about as straightforward of a safety mechanism could be, as it's automatically disengaged when you squeeze the trigger.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Ah ok, the one's I've played with have a safety switch under the barrel, but I am also familiar with the double action (so to speak) trigger. All constructive criticism is welcome :)

    *opens the floodgates*
  • fagfag Regular
    edited January 2012
    RemadE wrote: »
    Ah ok, the one's I've played with have a safety switch under the barrel, but I am also familiar with the double action (so to speak) trigger. All constructive criticism is welcome :)

    *opens the floodgates*

    Do you mean the one that is just to the left and above the trigger? That is actually used for disassembling the gun. :p

    asg_g17.jpg
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Lol no I meant this one
    Glock17.jpg
  • GoingNowhereGoingNowhere Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    When your done this will be an awesome CMS article, really good reading :D
  • blindbatblindbat Regular
    edited January 2012
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Give me a day to write another chapter :) I am currently on #13 and keep a few on tab to give myself time to improve them.
    Don't worry, I haven't forgot :hai:
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Chapter 11.

    Walking through the Cathedral grounds my eyes were met with a scene much like the Christmas Market before the outbreak. This time last year, people would be spending lots of money on custom-made, expensive gifts, ice skating and taking in the sights and smells.
    Instead, there were markets selling foodstuffs, and if I were to leave, I would need to acquire materials. Makeshift stalls and markets were everywhere, with no real logic to the layout. Just rubbernecking I could see stalls selling foodstuffs, water purifying materials, homebrewed alcohol and clothing. People were desperate to trade and long queues formed, especially on the alcohol stand which made me wonder what would be the most valuable items in this new world.

    "Come look at what we have on offer, young man!" a voice called from a person who had just run in front of me.
    Ignoring him I took the small piece of handwritten A5 paper and read it, walking to the High street and back to my House.

    "Crazy Charlies bonanza, all the intoxicants, weapons and crazy crap you'd need! Find us at 56 Tower Street. Open 10am to 3pm"

    Seemed useful. I'm sure I had something worthwhile to trade, so I walked there now. The stalls now selling services as well as goods. People offering excursions outside of the City, or Gardening lessons, Prayer sessions or repairs. It's strange, I just can't believe I have never seen this hustle and bustle of activity. I was convinced I was alone, and now I wanted to leave.
    it would take a while for me to build myself up for my journey into the unknown.
    The smell of burning flesh struck my nose like a hammer as I reached the High Street. The cobbled road turning into the paved one which was re-laid earlier in the year.
    I was worried. Burning flesh? Had people already turned to cannibalism? I looked around, alarmed, only to find there was a big Hog Roast right where I came onto the High Street.

    My heart slowed down. I didn't know what to expect. Religious nutters, junkies who wanted me dead, murder, theft...

    Passing the gaggles of people on the way to Tower Street was almost confusing.

    "Roll up, roll up! Get the purest water this City has seen!"
    "There is only one God but he has left us! Hell has arrived!"
    Down past Sainsburys

    "It's cold. Very cold. The latest in fashion is here! Sheepskin and leat...trading food for alcohol. Food for alcohol, people!...Any metals, Sir, any metals?"
    The narrow road made for a confusing overlap in the literal screaming of people offering clothing and the like. Nobody was stigmatised any more as they had to get by. No longer could you go to a newsagent to buy beer or cigarettes, and services were more important than items. Those who had knowledge were valued very highly.

    Tower Street. I finally made it.

    Looking fown the Street I could make out a ragtag shopfront with a few tables on the pavement. Some people walking out with a bag and a smile on their face.
    Certainly worth a look, I thought.

    The shop was the old DIY store, converted into a Pawn shop-cum-Repair centre.
    "Hey kid, welcome to Crazy Charlie's! How can I help you?"
    "Just looking as it's my first time here. Looks my kinda place though"
    "Alright", the casher shouted as I was already at the back of the shop, "If you need anything, or are interested in anything, just gimme a shout!"

    The walls of the shop were stuffed with all sorts of items in no particular order. It was loosely categorised into sections such as weapons, maps, electrical parts, water, food, local adverts etc.
    I wondered what the law on selling weapons was, so I shouted for the attention of the cashier.
    "Hey, little help?"
    "Sure"
    he trotted up to me in his ragtag waistcoat and jeans with a brimmed hat.
    "What are the laws on weapons? I've not been up with current affairs. I realise there's Martial Law, but surely they don't want some sort of uprising"

    "Well", he replied with a sigh, "Weapons need to be inspected and licensed within the City limits. It's not exactly the most foolproof method as many people have weapons. But if you intend on leaving the relative safety of here, then prepare to take as many as you can with no legal implications. You just declare them when you enter a Township or City...not sure about Settlements"
    "Settlements?"
    "Yeah, you not heard? This Outbreak came from outside. The rest of the place is as far gone as here, and not even maintained! You really should pay more attention to the radio or Local Internet we have set up here...it's one oh ni-"
    "one oh nine point six AM"
    "You got it. I reccommend it" the cashier said nodding his head with a smile.

    "So how much does say, a pistol, or some ammunition go for?" I asked
    "Well a box of 50 9mm bullets is equivalent to £15 old money, so we can trade electronics for that, or a service, or even another weapon. It all depends on what the state of it is and how useful we find it. In all honesty if it looks like it's worth £15 in old money and is practical, then it's welcome here. None of that horse shit clothing that breaks when it rains!"

    I nodded and kept walking round
    "You need any food or water supplies?" the cashier asked.
    "Well I'm planning on leaving here for a while. Just to find some people. I need to know what to take in a vehicle that I can acquire"
    "Do you have a license?" the Cashier asked.
    "Well, no..." I said, disappointed.
    "Well we can get you one, for the right price of course" he said in a hushed tone.
    "Sounds good. How about I come back later on today with some bits I am willing to trade and a shopping list, per-se, and see where we get?"
    "Deal"
    "Deal", I said, shaking his hand, "cracking place this. I'll certainly be rummaging around later on"

    The time was now 11:30am, so that gave me plenty of time to get home.

    Chapter 12.
    Back at my room, I took note of everything I had. If I was going to leave this City, I would need to do so with transport of some sort - so need a good amount of items to trade for a drivers license.
    The room was full of things I would need or would come in handy. Weapons, ammunition, food, water, clothes and the like. As well as information which would prove helpful.
    Counting out the ammunition, I saw I had 12 9mm rounds. Hardly enough for a road trip. I did have an idea though, so that's not a worry for me at the moment. I just wanted some more useful things to help me get along on the road. I could've sworn I saw a few maps, small solar panels and alcohol brew kits in the shop. Something useful and something fun. Just want those. I could make the rest myself with the maintenance workshop just outside, University Security vans and my own stash of items.

    I decided to take a spare knife I had lying around and then went to the maintenance workshop.
    Once again as before I got the ladder and broke in through the top window. I figured I wanted to keep this place safe if ever I came back.
    Stuffing my pockets with a few batteries, a small radio and tools - both manual and one electric, I headed back to mine to add it to the bag.

    So far, a knife, batteries, small radio and a hammer, spanner and hacksaw blades.
    What about survival information? I searched through the piles of CDs and DVDs to find a blank one. They may find it useful.
    I found a few disks with no writing on and put them into my laptop to burn some survival files onto.
    out of the 5, 4 had data on.
    1 was blank, so I put as much information as I could onto it.
    Over the 40 minutes it took to burn the 4.2GB onto the blank DVD I had managed to scavenge some food I had stolen. Canned goods and the beef jerky. it wasn't much, but it would interest the shop owners considering they had to live.
    Looking at the floor I spotted the 4 bags of Heroin.
    "Oh fuck it" I said, and threw one into my bag. Just in case. Whilst on my knees I decided to look under my bed
    "Oh, and wha-"
    I grabbed at a small box...it was a deck of cards.
    "May as well throw that too"
    Soon enough I was starting to build up a fair amount of items. The nostalgia of rooting around reminded me of hiding my magic mushroom grow ops at University. If there were a way I could get that going again, I'd be a rich man...and a big target. Have the laws on drugs even changed?
    This is how out-of-touch I was with the world. I really needed to talk to people.
    As my train of thought ended, the laptop drive clicked open and there was a freshly-burnt, warm disk. Grabbing a sharpie from the heavy oak drawer, I wrote the names of each of the collections on it

    "Ragnar Benson's Home defence", "Shelters", "Food and Scavenging", "Self Defence" and "US Army Manuals", as well as the software needed to view the files. Wrapping the disk in a paper wallet, I put it - carefully - into my bag.

    So far I had about .5g of Heroin, a survival DVD, a deck of cards, assorted batteries, a small radio, some tools, fresh hacksaw blades, £40 coinage stashed in the bottom of the bag, a knife, beef jerky and canned food.
    Seems a fair amount. I also packed some money with me in case I saw anything, or desperately needed anything to take with me.

    I wrapped up and headed back out into Town, taking stock of the cars and security Vans in the car park. There were a few Citroen Berlingo Vans around.
    The entire time down to Town I thought of how to kit one out to survive. I had some ideas, and a smirk appeared on my face as I dreamt up all sorts of designs. Dreams of battle vans, Mad Max chases and living free.
    I ended up slipping on some ice while in the process of daydreaming.

    That hurt.

    It's not been snowing much this past fortnight, so the roads are full of sludge and ice. If one good thing came of it, you can see the tracks of the patrols when it had freshly snowed.
    Entering the High Street, the smell of cooking meat hit my nose. Hungry as hell, I kept on walking with my bag clinking and my ankle throbbing.
    Plenty of ragtag individuals remained from earlier, the religious speeches bellowed across the top of the High Street and the heads of most of the people there.
    Leather wares, survival knives and beggars lined the street as I turned the corner. Soldiers mingled between the tarpaulin market stalls making small talk with those buying and selling wares. If anything I should get to know them - but I'm still in my subvertive mood.
    Ahead was Crazy Charlies Bonanza. Tower Street.
    The bell rang as I entered and I turned around, confused.
    "A lot changes in a short time here. Thought it was a good addition", Charlie said
    "Back again are we? What tickles your pickle then my son?"

    "Well namely the Solar Panel, a map of the County and some personal defense items...oh, and that drivers license, of course" I replied, becoming more hushed as my reply went on.

    "Sorted. Well follow me round the back and we shall see what we can do", Charlie said.
    So I did, and the heavy metal door clanged shut behind me. 2 large bodyguard-types were standing either side of the door with a pistol each and mirrored shades.

    Reluctantly, I sat down.
  • blindbatblindbat Regular
    edited January 2012
    MOAR!WTF IS THIS !!!!!111!!1!111111!!!!11!! IT SBEEN WEEKS
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Haha chill your beans. It's been a hectic week. Got 2 more chapters to post but will post another when I get another one done. I like to have a debt built up ;) not long now. Will aim to finish a chapter before tonight is out :thumbsup:
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Sorry for the delays. Been a hectic past week as you know, but I'm slowly getting back into it. Also, there are pictures! Just thought I'd add some eye candy. Sorta. Edited the second Chapter here to accommodate the first one. More to come!

    Chapter 13.
    Looking%20onto%20charlies.png

    "So what did you bring?" Charlie boldly said. Being in a secure place made his tone change and I suddenly felt out of my depth. I had to keep calm.
    "Well I'll just empty it all out and see what you think" I replied nervously. I knew it was the wrong thing to do but his demeanour just made me cave in. I couldn't be this weak if there was ever a next time.

    Everything fell out and thumped the table. I took the DVD out from a pocket in my bag as I didn't want it scratched.
    "That's got survival info on it..I could get you porn if you wanted, too. Whatever floats your boa-"
    "Ok ok, enough" Charlie snapped. "Drugs, entertainment items, mechanical bits, food..not a lot but we could come to some kind of agreement. I have different sized solar panels"
    My heart sank as I realised this wasn't going to be as smooth as I thought. Luckily the £40 didn't fall out as it was stashed in another, sealable pocket in the bag, so if things got desperate I could use it.

    "What can I get for this then, starting with the map, then solar panel?" I asked.
    "Hmm, the heroin and food can get you the medium sized solar panel, it's 30x45cm and the rest can get you the map. Easy really." he calmly replied
    It seemed that he worked me up with all the facade of security, solitude and armaments but let me get what I needed - mostly - unharmed. Rinsed due to my own fear.
    "Well that's good. Any extras for a driving license?" I finally asked. I don't know why but in one way that would have made the most sense to ask for first, but I could always save up for it if need be.
    Charlie muttered to himself taking stock of what I had put on the table for him, tutting and pouting, finally saying
    "Unfortunately not, mate"
    "What is reasonable for it then?" I quickly asked
    "Well something of high value. This will give you the freedom to drive and costs a lot of time and money for me to forge. Something which will keep me going and take you time or money, y'know?" he calmly said back
    "Sure, sure", at this point I was kicking myself to man up, but having 2 burly fuckers behind me with pistols which may or may not be loaded scared me enough. Placing the solar panels with a few lengths of wire and a manual with a map on the table, inspecting then and then putting them into my bag, I stood up, shook his hand hurriedly and walked out of the shop. There was so much here I was half tempted to break in one night, but had no idea what the security features were.
    "Hey Charlie"

    "Yeah?"
    "Got any good tips for property security? Anything you recommend?"
    "Well" he said, standing there with his hands rubbing together, "it's mostly quite primitive these days due to electricity. Bodyguards, pressure plates with dead drops, tripwires. Why?"
    "Oh just wondered. Had a break in the other week and thought you'd be the guy to ask. You seem to know, and have everything"
    "Well when you next pop in, be it for th elicense or not, I'll show you the systems. I'm pretty busy right now"
    "No problem" I hollered as he walked down the aisles of clutter to meet another customer.

    Time to get thinking. I walked out of the shop, turned right to avoid the High Street and headed home. The waft of pork and whatever other meat was cooking made my stomach rumble beyond comprehension.
    I gave into my medical worries and mentally proclaimed "Oh fuck it, I'll get something to eat".
    Turning into the next side street on the left I was greeted by a barrage of people. The rabble would at least give me time to catch up on the gossip in Town.
    Walking up to the nearest food stand I looked at the prices.
    'Locally sourced burgers in a bun - £3'
    Well looks like my City didn't lose it's craving for Organic food and upmarket prices, but the smell was almost overwhelming and my mouth was watering.
    Walking up to the stand I ordered one of the burgers. No need for a drink as I always had a bottle of water in my bag.
    "Yeah some ketchup too" I replied to the vendor, and waited a few minutes for it to be bunned-up. Just standing still allowed for me to take in the atmosphere and what was actually going on. As before, a few Squaddies walking down the Street, talking to the Locals and looking at the wares for sale.
    "So where do you come from, Stranger?" a voice said very closely to me.
    Turning round I saw a guy who looked about the same age as me. It was hard to tell during these times though.
    "Here mate, your burger"
    "Ah, cheers", I took the hot piece of heaven in my hand and told the guy that I'm from the West side of Town. No point giving away my exact location.
    "Well I was born in West London, but moved down here for University, you?"
    "Oh I'm a bit of a roamer. Not Roma, because I do have a base of operations. All round handman really. Courier, repairman, advisor, bodyguard..you name it"
    Now I come to look at him, I saw he was a fair bit bigger than me.
    "Sounds like you got some tales to tell. I'm Jay, and you are?"
    "Vik" he replied. "Fancy sitting down somewhere for a chat?"
    "Sure, where did you have in mind?"
    "Ah, anywhere" Vik rushed to say. "Could always go to the Cathedral grounds. Open space, not much to worry about within earshot"
    "I'm rather intrigued about what you have in mind, Vik", I began to worry slightly
    "Just wondered if you wanted my services, or ask anything" Vik boldly responded.
    "Well I'm in a rush" I hesitated "but I wondered if you knew about driving licenses. I don't...have one right now, and I need to visit a friend who is stationed nearby. I could walk but it's a few mil-"
    "No worries mate. I can always deliver a message" Vik said, rooting round his leg pocket
    "Sounds good to me, how much?"
    "Just a few quid. Whatever you can spare really"
    Now it was my turn to root around my bag for some cash. I did my best to just differentiate between coin and note sizes without looking, using the sun as a natural torch as it was behind me
    "Here, will a fiver do?"
    "Sure, here's some paper and a pen, so write down what you need and I'll put it in an envelope and be on my way"
    Taking the pen and paper I wrote out my message on the table of the food vendor

    "Mark,
    It's Jay here. I need your help as I intend to escape this City and you have the supplies, morale and help I need. I'll do whatever it takes, whatever odd jobs you need and can bring you a few luxury items as well.

    I will turn up 5 days from the date written on this letter.
    Yours,
    Jay"


    "Oh fucking grease" I tried not to shout
    "Ok, and the address. That's an important part"
    "Of course, of course" I hurriedly replied, writing the date on the letter - November 14th.
    I put the address as accurately as I could remember it, including details to the Barracks. You see, Mark is a friend of mine, almost a second Father and has been in the Army 24 years. A good rank and a valuable person, he got me work over a few years in Army Kitchens. He always said he was working at that particular place and that he could sort me out.

    Folding the letter up and explaining the fact I need it delivered fast, I gave Vik £2.50 for a pint and told him whereabouts he could find Mark and under what circumstances. You know, Military and all that.

    "No problem mate. Cheers for your trustworthiness and time. I come through here often if you ever need my services again" Vik shouted as he jogged off - presumably to deliver the letter.
    I had until November the 19th to steal, wheel and deal my way out of this City. I looked up to the hill I needed to ascend in order to get home. The shadows were long and people were beginning to look more weary in just a short space of time.
    Time for me to head home. I'll be up all night, so a nap is in order.
    Throwing the starchy napkin away, I began that walk.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited February 2012
    I apologise for the lack of recent postings/updates. Life has been pretty hectic recently as I have my Dissertation due in a month as well as 3 other assignments so don't have an amazing amount of free time. I haven't forgotten you readers!
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited February 2012
    Getting back on track now. Had a pretty crap week but wrote another chapter tonight so could afford to post some to give me more oomph/motivation to get writing.
    *****


    Chapter 14.
    Arriving back at my place, as always, I had a wary look around. The snow was beginning to melt away and the ground was visible. Nice as I can get a better grip and make less noise when walking round...or sneaking round for that matter.
    After a 5 minute look around, I deemed it safe enough to go inside. Fumbling for my keys in my pocket, I opened the door, stomped my boots as habit dictated and clopped up the wooden stairs.
    Turns out I left one of the windows open as the room was freezing cold.
    "You tard" I muttered to myself, heading over to shut it, then sat down on the bed underneath it to take my boots off. I'm napping with clothes on today.

    "Right, time to grab some paper and a pen. Let's plan this escape"
    During the time, I booted up my laptop. I had an application which was available on the intranet of the City to listen to the radio. Being told the frequency to listen to earlier, I remembered it as I grabbed a new notepad and a black biro pen.
    Opening the front page, I neatly wrote "escape items and vehicle".
    Windows 7 made the noise to indicate it had booted up, and after tapping in the password, I ran the FM and AM radio receiver application, scrolling to 109.6AM - official broadcasts tended to be FM, so this could be an interesting look into what was going on.
    As soon as I began listening, they were already discussing leaks from the local Military, such as guard changing times, routes out, local deals in shops and dealers around the City.
    I assumed this station was being listened to by the Authorities so I took everything with a pinch of salt and wanted to listen to it on a radio, not a static Laptop, giving away my location.
    "Sod it, I'll be gone soon" I thought as I reached for one of my cold nutrition drinks - thanks to the room temperature. Unscrewing the top, shaking it up and pushing the straw through the foil top, I looked back down to my lap.

    Back to writing the list, I stood at my window to look at the vehicles I had at my disposal left over from Security when they fled to their homes out of the City. Mostly Citroen Berlingos, I settled on them.
    White, small sized and quite nippy. I need to pack that thing better than a game of Tetris.
    "I'll measure it later, but time for the essentials" I said to myself like an oddball.
    Turning off the Radio application due to paranoia, I put on some chillout tunes I used to do University work to.
    Feeling an urge to go out tonight, I wrote down a few items to get, and called it a night.
    5 important things
    • Medical items
    • Water
    • Insulation
    • Anything to trade
    • Car repair kit

    Satisfied and looking at my bag, whispering "you're gonna be handy tonight" I closed my eyes after setting my laptop to wake me up in 3 hours - at 21:00, with classical music on in the background that was due to end in an hour.The room slowly warming, yet my freezing cold duvet didn't help at first.

    "Shouting lager, lager, lager, shouting mega mega white boy"
    Smack went my hand on the keyboard.
    My alarm of Underworld's Born Slippy was always my choice. Good memories associated with that song.
    Sitting up I tried to make sense of the dream. I was driving across a desert, implying I wanted to see how the World was doing as opposed to my City, I assumed.

    A thin layer of sweat covered my body where I slept fully clothed. Walking groggily to the sink for a brief face, armpit, crotch, and arse wash as well as brushing my teeth (not with the same water), I returned to my notepad.
    Picking it up I tried to think of the logistics. I have 5 days to get as many of my drinks as possible, and each crate of 24 drinks, coming in 8 x 4 of them, weighs approximately 10 kilos. They just about fit in my bag. I knew from years of having them and taking them abroad, bloody economy class.
    So I already had a full bag.
    How to get the rest on, I thought to myself. Owning the Pilchuk K2 snowboarding bag, I had plenty of places to hang bits from, such as clips round my waist, security ones across the three sections of the bag and extra sections to put small things I may come across.

    Rattling the list down to its bare essentials as I dried off in a now moderately-warm room, I turned on my Radio application just to see if it would help me tonight.
    One..oh..six..point nine
    Playing it in the background, I had another of my drinks. I'll need the energy, and I could already feel that burger making its way through my guts.
    Popping 2 co-codamols with my drink to slow down the inevitable arse gravy, I wittled the list down to make things easier and myself more focused on what I need to get.
    • Medical items, just as many drinks as I can carry. A crate a night is sufficient.
    • Water, bottles will be the most useful. I have semi-clean drinking water at mine to fill them up with. Collapsible containers were the preferred item in mind.
    • Insulation, thermal clothes, blankets etc.
    • Trading items, money, food, ammunition, entertainment in the form of pornography for the Army lads I intend to meet, alcohol, cigarettes etc.
    • Car repair kit, which I could find in the maintenance workshop here on Campus. I knew a few shops which would carry them in, one being on the outskirts of town, further than I had ventured before so I'd go there. Recon is a must, with it being on an industrial estate.

    With all these items, I would need things to keep them secure. Opening the srawers, still wrapped in a towel I got dressed, purposely looking for any zip tie cables I had lying at the bottom of my utility drawers or boxes.
    Upon putting on a pair of boxer shorts and thermal long-johns, I had found 7 zip ties.
    I think the maintenance workshop is a must tonight I muttered to myself as the radio station told of the weather tonight and estimated Military level which I thought was useless. How can you predict something like that?
    Anyway, I put on a thermal top and t-shirt with my infamous Harrington jacket I had loved for many years now that my long, greycoat had been stolen a few nights back.
    I put on my boots and turned off the radio station, but not before
    "We here at 109.6 have received word that a small outbreak has been spotted and reportedly locked down in the West of the City. Please stay tuned for more details."
    "Fuck" I thought. I live on the West side of the City, so should I wait?
    I sat around a bit longer, not worrying about battery life of the Laptop as I had plenty to put in and my turbine was spinning nicely.
    5 minutes passed, and only a mention of the same thing.
    10 minutes went by now and nothing more.
    Pacing round my room, looking at the door out the corner of my eye, worried some sort of undead would plough through, I heard something other than the rolling news
    "The area of outbreak has been localised, but in keeping with the curfew, it is not reccommended to go out tonight. We know you listeners don't take notice of it, but we plead with you not to go out. The last thing you need is to be shot on sight or attacked by a horde of the undead"
    Kit%20parts.jpg

    "So that's what they are" I said to myself, putting my bag on. From the initial outbreak, I had never run into one of these undead. All I knew is that they attack on sight and that the Cities were safe to go. Coincidently on the outskirts of the City, the West included, there are plenty of estates where I can only presume many people have died or are dying. They weren't in the best shape before the outbreak. The nearest one to me is about half a mile away, so packing my night kit of my butterfly knife, lockpick set, now red-tinted torch, 5mg of valium and some Tramadol to keep me going in case I need to run or get away that I popped before leaving and the survival saw from my bug out bag which makes for a good Hitman style kill to keep the noise down. I thought of the Kevlar vest in my drawer, but in all honesty it would weigh me down, being 3kg. Ever since I was a kid I wanted one - and thanks to Mark the Army mate, I got one a few years back and made some custom adjustments to it for a comfy fit.
    But not tonight.
    The boots were laced tight, I now had my black combat trousers and thermal long-johns underneath with extra pockets with the zip ties and knife in, 5.11 shooting gloves with the fingertips cut off and my black jacket over a long-sleeved thermal top. Lastly the bag was thrown on and secured with the chest and belt buckles. The keys were taped up to stop them making noise and placed in my buttoned pocket. Jumping up and down in my room, I made sure nothing made any noise.

    Chapter 15.
    I firstly headed to the Maintenance workshop opposite my front door to look for car repair items. Anything from spare tyres, pumps and batteries to things which I could use to customise the vehicle. There were 3 in total, so I had a choice. Daytime would be the best time to play Mad Max.
    I had left the door open and went inside keeping intentionally quiet as my nerves were jumpy due to the radio broadcast. Glad I listened to it now.
    Taking out the red-tinted torch, I began searching round the electric part of the workshop. Piles of wires, a few tools which took my fancy and spare batteries which both went into a carrier bag I had found lying on the table with rotting food in. I could see the dust in the torch beam and the stench of rotting food just began to hit me. Lockers stood in the corner, beginning to rust through the months of damp, cold weather. My main priority was to find a footpump, and after 10 minutes I found a single-barelled one. It would have to do unless I found another, better one. No spare tyres, predictably, but I got a few useful items.
    Putting the tools, assorted batteries and closed foot-pump into the Tesco carrier bag, I exited through the front door, making sure it was securely locked and tied the bag up, leaving it just inside my door.
    Placing the keys back after double locking my door, I did my pockets up and mentally prepared myself. On an empty stomach the pills hit me hard, and I was now ready.
    Making my way down the driveway to the main road to town, I kept having images of Zombies from movies as I had prepared for this moment my entire life.
    Did I bring the right equipment with me? I had a machete but don't want a visible weapon if I get seen on a night like tonight.
    Am I well enough? What if I get caught short? Oh Crohn's, you bastard.
    Walking back I went to the public toilets on my campus and smashed the toilet roll holder with a loud plastic crack, unclipped my bag and put a roll in the top of the bag in the smallest compartment where my mini survival kit of waterproof matches a friend made me life, as well as an SAS survival guide, electrical tape, firecrackers and a few condoms.
    Retracing my steps I began to cautiously walk down the road, hugging the cobbled, damp stone wall until I got to the Police HQ. Chances are somebody was there working with this small (I hoped) outbreak, but it made for a great shortcut to town, circling around the High Street.
    Instinctively not looking before I crossed the road as I had not seen a moving car in a long time apart from patrols moving at a walking pace, I jogged to the entrance of the Police HQ, next to the Prison and the imposing 1970s architecture greeted me. Sticking to the grass and moving from tree to tree on a raised grassy knoll, I wanted to head towards the gate.
    Being damp, I had no real worries about leaves crunching underfoot.

    "Catch you later John" I heard a feint voice say.
    Hitting the deck quite hard, I covered myself in damp leaves, mostly to hide my pale white face and consciously low-profiled bag.
    Keeping an eye on the shadows at the entrance of the Police HQ I thought about how lucky I was when I had decided to cross the road then, instead of walking down an approximately 600 yard road with no other roads coming off of it.
    The unfamiliar but nostalgic sound of a car drove past me with one passenger in. Whoever John was, he must still be there. Security maybe? If so there must be something worthwhile in there. Anything from weapons to documents.
    But it wasn't worth the risk. I had to get past John. Maybe this wasn't the best route to take.
    Still, I crawled tentatively towards the direction of the gate which used to be open every weeknight, but more than likely not any more. Constantly looking for signs of movement, I couldn't see any, and the gate was in sight. Damp grass and brown leaves made every movement more uncomfortable - but I had to get there. Before long it felt like I was going to freeze, but thankfuly the thermals I had on gave some help to my now almost submerged legs.
    Laying low and breathing slowly, reminiscent of Snake from Metal Gear Solid with the Diazepam, I watched for movement.
    But none.
    I stayed still. Just to make sure.
    Nothing. Until a figure appeared at the doorway.
    obviously it was too cold for him to be outside. "Alright for some" I thought, as I was damp and covered in leaves.
    Waiting for him to look down at the desk - looking for the pink of his face to disappear, I then bolted towards the gate and hopped it in one smooth leap like the old days when heading towards the train station. Onwards I headed through cobbled, narrow streets keeping an eye out for the increased presence of Military, the Undead and possibly Police Agents during tonight.
    Walking through the park I was half wary and half worried that the state of things were rapidly deteriorating. Even back at my safehouse. Food was rotting, dust was amassing and I needed to leave.
    "Not long now" I kept saying to myself, knowing where to head in order to get my crate of drinks. I had a pharmacy in mind on the other side of the High Street that I had yet to visit. Maybe they had some in stock. Thoughts of the weight crossed my mind, and ideas of how to get more back during the day , or at night, raced through my head.
    "Maybe there's a junkie in there waiting to kill me", I also thought after my last battle. Shrugging it off, as well as the now sodden grass and leaves around my ankles, I headed on cautiously.
    Paranoia was everywhere. Creeping up my spine and into my brain. I couldn't let it take over me, and the valium was going to stay at 5mg and that was that. I need to save medication and I can't afford to be caught off-guard.
    As I exited the barren, downward facing park round the path that ran round the edge, I crossed the trainline which was used to ferry the dead and food to neighbouring Towns and Port Cities. The stench was unbearable and so I trotted across holding my nose and breathing through my mouth.
    Heading right in a smooth motion, I walked towards the High Street, but didn't intend on crossing the path of the 20-odd CCTV installations and however many Scout Patrols may be out - especially tonight.
    I had a plan in mind, and even now with the recent localised outbreak, I had to be extra cautious.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited April 2012
    Getting back on the wagon now. Writing some more chapters with photos etc. Stay tuned!
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited April 2012
    Chapter 16.

    My first and foremost objective was to get medical supplies. Opposite where I lived was a Hospital which I would use as a last resort, but I was here for the Pharmacy. Walking parallel to the High Street I could hear a low hum coming from ahead. This was, after all, the centre of the City so no prizes for guessing there would be a Military outpost or patrol here.
    If anything, I thought, it sounded like a generator. Still, stay away and safe. No need to endanger myself.
    Continuing to walk along I counted the roads and looked at the signs to get an idea of how far away I was.
    Then I stopped as I reached the sidestreet which allowed me to see Boots the Chemist. I had pillaged Lloyds Pharmacy where a corpse now resided, and so straight ahead was the back entrance to my target.
    Feeling for my lockpick set I cautiously approached the back entrance. Either the warehouse or the shop.
    After a few seconds I chose the warehouse. Much like Sainsburys it had a large padlock which in reality was a lot weaker than the security-pin main rear entrance to the shop floor.
    I crouched. Made sure my bag was still secure and tried to get into the best possible position for any light to reach my hands so I could see what I was doing. I could still hear the hum through the deathly silence.
    The lock would not budge. It was beginning to rust and so I was contemplating smashing the shop window in. I needed to be discrete, but then again I also had to make it seem like it was not me - as I was after very specific things.
    Inhibitions were gone, and so after using the cardboard from the bins nearby to cover the floor I took out my knife and in a small fit of rage, smashed the back door lower window in the lower right hand corner.
    "Gotta improve on those skills, and time to get acting. Fast" I muttered as the glass hit the damp tarmac and cardboard. Noise was my primary concern as the generator was still audible - this certainly would be. Which is where my next concern came in.
    The alarm.
    Or should I say - what alarm? Power to the City was intermittent at best and and there was no wailing to greet me. Looking around I folded the knife back and put it into my pocket. If anyone was in here, they'd have heard me. But I kept my nerve, buttoning my pocket up and making my way through the bottom void on my hands and knees - glad I had layers and gloves on.
    Panting and filled with anxiety I decided to sit in a little alcove for a few seconds, giving me time to block up the now void window pane which I did with cardboard and crates. You never know if anyone will come looking.
    Never leave a trace.

    "So here I am", my mind said, "Get in, grab and get the fuck out" it also added. Acknowledging this I headed straight to the dispensary and took out my red torch, wary of junkies or other survivalists looking for shelter. They would have heard me make an entrance, so I was really in their domain now.
    Red was a useful colour - simply because it is easier on the eyes in the dark. I had learnt this from my days of lamping as a child when I would shoot rabbits. It takes your eyes less time to recover from the shock of illumination. Rods and cones, people.
    Seeing the stacked shelves was almost a miracle in itself. This place was untouched. I just hope they had in what I needed.
    Taking a few boxes of pills and stuffing them into my pockets, for both personal and profit use, I headed towards the warehouse area as I used to be such a regular customer here for these drinks.
    I needed to find the green crates. My University room was literally packed with these things and they could each contain about 120 drinks each. I could only carry back 30 at best, but I had ideas of leaving a few scattered around or using a vehicle on my final night.
    It was all in the pipeline.
    Peering cautiously through the door to the warehouse I tested the handle.
    "Goddammit, locked AGAIN" I muttered, concious of any extra, undue noise.
    Turning my back to the corner, just in case anyone was in there and looking through the keyhole I took stock of the situation.
    Damp was coming from somewhere. The air was now full of old medical supplies and perfumes instead of adrenaline like before.
    I was submerged in this world and I couldn't stay long. For the minute I stood there I thought about stealing some perfume, and acted on impulse. No power meant no CCTV, and no CCTV meant no worries for my identity. Fingerprints were an issue but I used my sleeve.
    Treading carefully, clip-clopping to the glass cabinet I thought about how to get into the warehouse as I picked the weak wafer locks on the display cabinets.
    "Armarni, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein...sod it" I took one of each, be it male and female, and jammed them snugly into the side pockets of my bag. Anything of value that could be traded. Absolutely anything. "Not everyone's a drug user" I repeated.
    Now the matter of the warehouse. A key must be around the shop somewhere.
    Heading back to the dispensary area I checked all the drawers. Dusty old prescriptions littered the floor and were strewn in the drawers. Ramming my hand in, I found nothing.
    Nothing by the tills or computer terminals either.
    Keeping the torch lit, I looked on the walls in case of a key box.
    A grey, almost mounted moneybox was next to the door.
    Talking to myself once again I tried to open it but it was locked. Luckily with, once again, a wafer lock, so I was in there within a matter of seconds.
    Only 3 keys were in there. Gently touching the labels I checked them each:
    "Till, nope. Security - interesting, but nope...aha, stock room"

    "Or warehouse" I muttered, so I removed it from the hook, clinking in my gloved palm and placed it into the deadbolt, cautiously turning it to the left and pushed the stiff door into the unknown.

    Chapter 17.

    Darkness. Something I was now so used to I almost had night-vision. Not knowing how big, dangerous or whatever else this storage area was I slid through the door to keep any noise to a minimum and sidestepped to the right. Up against the wall I felt safe and I checked my bag, torch and knife. All I could keep saying to myself was "you never know" after the last encounter in a place like this - but it was locked so the chances of someone being here were low.

    Crouching down I clicked the torch on. A dim red glow filled the room and I could just about see the end. I could feel that burger making its way through my gut now.
    "Oh shit" I muttered. Thoughts were racing. Was anyone else here? What the fuck do I do? Looking around for some scrap paper which was all over the pinboard by the door, I had to find a corner.
    Nausea.
    Pain.
    Bubbling.
    I can't escape this. It's just going to have to come out - right now.
    Heading to the corner so I could squat toward the walls, I pulled my trousers down, opened my backpack to get out a plastic bag with no holes in (I always taped them up in case of liquid transportation) and pushed my bag a few feet away, just enough to reveal my arse - which was so pale it could be spotted like a disco ball in this room, and kept looking around with my dim red light.
    Relaxing, rustling the paper in my right hand I just let it flow into an awkwardly placed plastic bag placed under my arse. A watery load just came out of me. The opiates didn't do the best job at making it into something solid. Cringing, hoping the tape held on the bag.
    After a few minutes of pushing out what can only be described as arse gravy, I wiped and checked with my torch. Wiped again and was glad I had gloves on. Fuck washing my hands here. Where was I to do that? In days of past I would panic about these things, but now I didn't have to. placing the paper into what was now the most foul-smelling thing I had come across, bar the maggot-ridden bin bags in the early days, I tied a double know in it and placed it by the door. Not trying to think too much about my potentially shit stained arse, I put my backpack on and shone my red illumination around the room.

    "Hm, not too big" I whispered under my breath as my right hand unfolded the butterfly knife. Not just for opening boxes, if you wondered.
    The deathly silence was unnerving. Something about the quiet, absent-breeze of a room was enough to give me goosebumps. I was always the child who would find anxiety in the safest of places, and unhappiness in the most joyous of occasions, and this place was one of those. Moving from one dark place to another.
    Sticking to the wall I began the search for what I came for - the medical drinks to get me through the journey in 4 days time. I began to think about parking my escape vehicle nearby one day so i could get an easier time transporting them, and in bigger quantities.
    I threw that to the back of my mind as I searched for the green boxes which were neatly stacked on in, quite conveniently, the nearest corner I was standing to. The darkness and dim red of the torch made them appear black, but I opened the overlapping top to them and knowing each one could hold 3 crates of 32 drinks, I was in for a fine discovery. Usually I'd go for toffee, apricot or cappuccino, but I couldn't afford to be fu-

    "Result"

    All of this crate was Apricot. Just as I was thinking about being fussy, I was greeted with a reprive. Life will be a lot more comfy now.
    Slicing the cellophaned cardboard crate open I stooped down to unclip my bag and began to pack them tightly into the main compartment as I wanted to take as many as I could. After a few seconds I realised I could fit at least the entire box in, bringing it to 32 drinks which would see me through 5 days comfortably. Closing the box up with its overlapping top I went on the hunt for anything else I could scavenge. Anything that would make my journey more fun.

    "It was somewhere around Barstow" I said to myself as I was now confidently striding round the small storage room, imagining scenes of a "Fear and Loathing" type nature if i could find anything. Anything to trade, use myself or whatever. The thought of stuffing my bag with bandages and the like suddenly took over and I was soon searching for those. Anything to nurse wounds. Pills were alright, but sometimes you need to face the harsh reality that is life and deal with an injury if it arises.

    The main corridor of the room was dusty and slightly crunchy. Sweeping the torch around I could see a bulb had smashed on the floor, looking up, it had fallen. One of the long T5 halogen bulbs. Side-stepping again, like something from Splinter Cell, I kept looking around for bandages. Left were tablets, right was a refridgerated unit - redundant with the power outages.
    I kept walking towards the back of the room and realised that I could easily take bandages fromt he shop. I called it quits here, but not before curiosity got the better of me and I grabbed a handful of assorted antibiotics and painkillers, including a 100ml bottle of Methadone. By the end of this adventure, I will be a William S Burroughs with a battle wagon.
    chuckling quietly, as if danger was at the door out, Iclasped the torch as best I could and walked back towards my bag. The freedom of not being clipped in was liberating. Strategically packing the bottle and boxes into my bag, I managed to just about zip it up and heave it onto my back.
    This was going to be a long walk to the house. Especially with this damned outbreak. The bandages could wait, and I helped myself to a few drinks more for the journey home. Slowly sipping them as I locked the door and took the key, conscious of anything that could be behind me I kept the torch under my right armpit and knife in my right hand.
    Making sure all was secure I was set to leave with the pack on my back, sealed shit-bag in my left hand and walking back toward the cramped entrance I took in, I realised this medicine-filled bag would not fit through the gap if it stayed on me.Once again, it all came off and I had turned the torch off. Last thing I needed was a patrol walking by as I was in the middle of burglaring a Chemists with a bag full of shit and DNA in one hand and a weapon in my pocket.
    On my hands and knees I moved the cardboard, tentatively poking my head out and looking to the left. The right side was a brick wall which did't help things. Imagining myself like a rodent, waiting to be whacked by an over-zealous shadowy figure, I took my chances, pulled my head back in and lifted my bag out of the lower portion of the door, following quickly I then attempted to make up the void that was quite obviously there with the patchwork of cardboard which wasn't easy with the gaffa tape residue on my gloves. I was always paranoid about fingerprints, but I'm not hanging around much longer. We all had to survive.
    Checking my pockets and trying not to make any noise on the gravel, I had the key, torch, knife and most importantly, a still-secure bag. No shit drips anywhere, spying a bin opposite where I was, sighing as I got the drinks onto my back, I clipped the belt and chest straps and walked across the road quickly - head down, tentatively pushed the bag of shit and paper into the bin and shuffled off as if nothing had happened.
    I was a bit too good at doing that. Nostalgic flashes of Urban Exploration came back to me as I checked for patrols while my back assumed a hunched-over position because of the weight of my newly-filled bag.
  • proudclod9proudclod9 Regular
    edited May 2012
    Only read about a chapter, but I'm loving it. Definitely gonna read the whole thing. +10
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited May 2012
    Cheers buddy :) I'm finding it a bit hard to do with my 10 day revision plan - with 10 days to do, but little steps. Little steps.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited May 2012
    Chapter 18.

    Hulking this great bag up the hill I realised just how much I was sweating from the painkillers and thermal shirt. Despite the outbreak, tonight was unusually quiet, and my idea of transportation was becoming more appealing.
    I wanted to get a car and drive it to a location near to the Chemist, load it up with drinks and either leave it there, or move it back home to stop me from having to undergo this physical torture.
    Trying not to stomp out of exhaustion, the crest of the hill became clear and I was home-free. At the top, however, was the Police HQ where I had the close call earlier, so I peered into the dark driveway and carefully sidestepped my way past it. Conscious of the fact I could be severely screwed over if caught out not only after curfew, but during an outbreak. An outbreak I was yet to even encounter.
    Was there really any outbreak?
    Fuck it, by this time, I was on the steps back to my house, holding in a few huffs and puffs, slogging to my door and rustling through my pockets to find my keys.
    "Jesus Chr-"
    I found them, midway through blaspheming. My patience was thin and I just wanted to get in. The weight really got to me so I needed to do this plan. It's times like this where I feel like a real self-hating Eugenicist. I wish I could eat like a regular Human Being.
    The key clicked in and the pins were pushed into place. Turning the key left, and getting into the luke-warm stairwell, I sighed and bent over to take my boots off - undoing the now muddy laces and walking up the cool stairs, needing the cold to keep me feeling.
    Opening the door to my flat, I dropped the boots on the floor and decided to have a nap whilst planning on the vehicle-approach. It had to be done tonight. Or at least be started.
    Squatting down, unzipping the bag I piled up the drinks near the window to keep them cool and helped myself to one after burning off however many calories up the steep hill. 400 calories and all the minerals, nutrients and whatever else was needed is now in my body.
    The tablets went into a cardboard box as I began to pack my life up. Methodically packing them in strength I was concentrating on just wanting to get out of this place. A wave of hatred came over me,.
    I had to sleep.
    Off came the trousers, thrown across the floor and the thermal shirt and jacket soon followed along with the gloves, before getting into bed for 2 hours, thinking about the logistics of this plan. Having to move the car without attracting attention. Unfortunately as per usual, I couldn't sleep, so put on some music - Pink Floyd, to drift off to.

    I awoke to a beaming sun in my window.
    "Oh for fucks sake!" I screamed, wanting to get it all done under the cover of darkness. I can't blame my body for wanting to get its much-needed sleep, but I was annoyed at how I was caught out. It reminded me of the days I would have an alarm failure, then have 15 minutes to get out of bed and to a lecture. Shower? No. Bag packed? Maybe. Run? Yes.
    Rolling over I saw my phone alarm had been going off, but I never woke up. There was no noise though - just vibrations. That wasn't enough.
    It was November 16th, 10:42am, hitting the "Dismiss" button on my alarm, I got up and saw the clothes still creased on my floor. Maybe this worked out in my favour though. Moving a car during daylight hours is a lot less conspicuous than at night. I just needed my license. A good excuse to go into town and check with Crazy Charlie about the Driving License progress. May make the process a lot easier.
    Rolling otut of bed I made a beeline for the shower, turning on some music from my beaming laptop. I was in a shit mood so needed some uplifting tunes. Classical for some reason, and making my way past the small piles of clothes, I enjoyed the steaming hot water spray onto my body. The bitterness was washed away. I'd often do this at University after a crap day - be it at 4am, 7am, 2pm or 11pm. Whenever I fancied, it was just a way of washing off my emotional weight.
    As my body warmed up, I thought of the plan. I needed to get a car sorted, then see charlie for the Driving License and park whatever automobile I could steal from the University next to Boots to load it up with the drinks at night.
    The soap lather fell off me effortlessly, especially from my attention-laden arse crack after last night, and I put on a cold blast to stop me sweating from the after-effects of a hot shower. It was habit.
    Stepping out, the cream towel was wrapped round me and I shaved the 2 day stubble off my face, wanting to look my best for the meeting. Charlie just scares me, and I felt I had to look somewhat professional. The music now going into Jefferson Airplane. Thank you, shuffle mode. Somebody to love? Right, not in these times. Thank you Grace Slick. I was never good with Women before this outbreak, and no better after - although maybe the City Limits were the limits of morality. I couldn't wait for the open road.
    One final swoop of the dull blade and I was done. Towel dried, moisturised and walking into my room naked, I grabbed a pair of boxer shorts, switching the track to some more upbeat Drum n Bass. Nostalgia flooded my mind. My friend and former ToTSEan was out there somewhere. I would love to find his post-apocalyptic site. He had a plan, and if it worked then I was in luck. Another plan for another day.
    So I had 3 days left to get my plan together and leave.
    Putting on some jeans and smart casual clothes topped off with my Harrington jacket I grabbed one of my drinks that was now nicely chilled next to the window, using it to wash down 120mg codeine and 200mg tramadol - oh sod it, and 5mg valium. I felt like treating myself.

    Off to find some car keys.

    Chapter 19.
    Leaving my room with my tablets, keys and a backpack on I headed towards town after making sure my door was secured. Even before the outbreak I would lock it when going outside for a smoke which was what, 3 minutes? Healthy paranoia and force of habit really.
    I enjoyed the walk outside, as I checked out the long-dormant University vehicles I intended on taking for my mission tonight. A small Citroen Berlingo van of Daihatsu Minivan.
    The hill into town allowed me to think of what my best option was. Ideally one which was diesel would be good in case of fuel shortages as it can be run off a 80/20 ratio of filtered vegetable oil and diesel, as well as space - which was a big factor. I was leaning towards the Daihatsu minivan. Its dull white paint after years of sitting in the same place. Obviously it would need some TLC, so I'd set a day aside for that.
    Crossing the railway bridge into Town, the market was in full swing again. As per usual the air was full of inviting odours and the sights of homemade crafts accompanied by the odd person on their soapbox talking about the end of the world, religion or cooperative groups. Just like before the outbreak, I glided through them all incognito. The burger trailer caught my eye and I really hoped Vik had delivered that letter I gave him. This plan was riding on the presumtion he did.
    Turning left halfway down the High Street I entered an alleyway which was littered with towering refuse bags. Quite a change of smell and they had appeared almost overnight. Maybe it was to do with the localised outbreak? Or maybe it was just the rubbish from the almost everyday market held a stones throw away.
    Charlie's was now visible and I made a beeline for it. A smile came over my face as the drugs kicked in and I felt at ease - not scared of the pistol-toting bodyguards there.
    "Hm, a bell" I said as I opened the door, accompanied by a jingle
    "Hey! Jay! Get over here...we have business to do. Well, I do" Charlie said as I literally put one foot in the door
    "Slow day?" I replied confidently
    "Ha, cheeky sod, not at all. Never a dull day. I'm just glad to see you. Got something you might...or should I say will like" he bounced back.
    Indicating with his hand, I followed him to the back room where we were before and removed my backpack, placing it next to the chair I sat on
    "Here we go" he said producing the drivers license, "now I got you a non-civilian one, so you can use it for multiple vehicles. All you have to do is put a passport-sized photo here, under the laminate, and you're on your way"
    I couldn't help but notice his enlarged pupils and came to the conclusion he was on something. Way too much confidence.
    "Ah cheers mate!" I blurted out, standing up placing it in my jacket pocket and hugging him
    "Glad to hear it. No worries, you're a good lad and I want to see you succeed" he openly said back. I then took a few steps back, leant over and replaced my backpack. I would wear it almost every day before the outbreak and it was to me like a handbag is to a woman.
    It's been a while since I had any contact with them, I thought.
    As we left my gaze turned to the plethora of items stacked in a ragtag fashion on the shelves and floor, even hanging from the ceiling. The entire shop had not one part of wall or ceiling that was visible. Bright lights so you could inspect everything and enough junk and gadgetry to keep a geek or hoarder happy for a lifetime.
    Walking towards the door we shook hands and I said my farewells
    "If ever I come back, you'll be getting a visit" I emotionally said as I left, the bell jingling behind me.
    I took a deep breath and looked at the license. This was my pass out of here, and it's good to know someone is reliable in this City.
    Walking back through the High Street I looked at the Market stalls and ragged gazebos for a final time. The people going about their daily lives - surviving, making money or even just living. The stench of food in the air, playing at my stomach, making me salivate but I kept trooping on. Up the hill, back to mine and make an inventory before getting on with modifying my van.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited July 2012
    Update time! (Just started on chapter 25 and will have some pictures soon, too)

    Chapter 20.
    Slowly shutting the door behind me and throwing the keys on my unmade bed, I kicked my shoes off with a slight spring in my step and went to the window to look at my modes of transport I had at my disposal.
    It was either a Dihatsu Minivan or Citroen Berlingo. Dihatsu certainly has more space, but is nowhere near as fast. Who knows what lies beyond this city?

    Gazing, I had thought of just how much the maintenance team were able to get in the back of those vans.
    Citroen Berlingo it was.
    I shut the window and put on some music. This mood calls for some Ska - opening my laptop, hearing the familiar boot up noise and using some of my battery to enjoy myself, and so I grab one of my half-used lecture pads and began to take an inventory. Dancing round my room, half skanking and half writing I made a note of all that was in my humble abode, and would then prove useful to me on my journey to escape and explore. The numerous shabby boxes that lined the room, the clothes, the medication and most importantly - the weapons. I just really hoped Mark had gotten that letter. It was still stuck in my head.

    After what seemed like forever, going through all the boxes and zip-lock bags, I had completed my inventory - only taking 15 minutes surprisingly.
    "Hm, not bad"
    I went over to the laptop and turned it off to conserve energy, charging it up with my wind turbine and had a nap. Using the method I was taught by Mark I bumped my head on the pillow the number of times to the hour I wanted to wake up. 2 times for 2 hours. It will be 14:30 or so by that point. Plenty of time to get going with the Van. I threw off my trousers and shirt, and hopped into bed with my boxers on, rolling my pillow over.

    Awoken by my body clock, it was 14:25 and I threw on my clothes, ready to head outside. Keys, check. Strangely left on my bed and not down the back. Result!
    Lacing up my boots, I let my imagination run wild, jumping to my feet with visions of an armoured Mad Max styled vehicle. The one good and bad thing about living in the UK is the lack of firearms. No mounted machine guns for me then - but also maybe less of a hostile wasteland out there for me.
    Jogging down the stairs and opening the door to a huge inhale of fresh air I headed round my building toward the security office I once used to frequent so often and looked through the key lockbox, easily picked by the paperclip on the desk. Lockpick skill of 10, methinks. Pfft.

    I took the box with me and walked with a spring in my step across the gravel car park, looking for the most suitable candidate. The less wear the better.
    The first one had weathering round the windows and rust by the doors. They weren't left that long, but weathering of them was evident.
    The second one didn't look too bad. No rust that I could see. Decent looking wipers, no oil leaks or other fluids and solid suspension after rocking it side to side.
    Looking at the third one, I couldn't be arsed to go any further -
    "Meh", looking through the lockbox I found the numberplate on the key fob. Kinda wish I had a real license as I need to drive this thing. At least some practice can be held here on campus during the day without any reprisals. I hoped.
    Placing the key in the stiff door I opened the car. The sun today was lingering there, and so was the lunch of whoever was last in there. Grimacing I reached for the tupperware container on the passenger seat and threw it out over my shoulder, narrowly missing the other vehicles parked behind me.
    I sat down and started the engine, feeling the rumble and immediately noticing half a tank of fuel. Not bad. I just hoped it was a decent amount,

    Ok, time to perform, I thought to myself. Putting down the clutch and going into first gear I then slowly brought it up, trying to figure out this damned "bite point" everyone I knew who drove went on about.
    The van began to rev more and more, so down went the accelerator and the van lurched forwards, but I was moving, slowly putting the accelerator down and bringing the clutch up, I drove slowly round the building, back to mine and outside the maintenance workshop. I was almost leering over the steering wheel, thinking just how to live in this thing if need be, and more importantly, what to do with it.

    Chapter 21.
    Stalling it in the gap between my door and the workshop, I pocketed the keys and jangled towards the workshop.
    Something wasn't right. The door was ajar. My heartbeat immediately went up. Shot through the roof, even. I put the keys into my hands and wrapped a fist around them.
    "Better than nothing" I thought, and cautiously headed into the front area by the lockers.
    No movement of the tables was evident, and no open lockers were there. can't be raiders or the place would be ransacked.
    Looking on the table I immediately put the keys back into my pocket and immediately cursed the noise they made as I reached for a monkey wrench.
    Wielding it like a sword I made myself into the supply room and was able to see clearly as the light came through from the window by through the small scrapyard behind the workshop.
    I scanned the room and couldn't see anyone or any movement.
    To the toilets. I can't start working without checking all of the building.

    My breathing was more and more audible, so I held my breath.
    It wasn't me breathing.
    I could hear a deep sighing coming from the female toilets to my left down the short but dark corridor. Immediately switching to my hunting walk (balls of feet) I now was holding the wrench above my head I approached the door, I giving myself some space and moving away from the wall.
    I caught a glimpse of it. Ragged shirt and facing the wall.
    Peeking by the doorframe I watched it. Just standing there. Dressed in trousers, no shoes and a ripped shirt. Between me and this creature was some smashed glass and the door which I assume it broke down. I can't sneak up on this thing.
    Instinct took over and I rushed it, wrench coming down with each step, just as it turned around my sweaty hands could grip the wrench enough to land it on top of its' skull, holding my mouth and eyes closed I felt the cold blood splash my cheeks.
    You learn something new everyday. Cold blooded.
    Opening my eyes the wrench was lodged in his crumpled head. I really shouldn't have closed my eyes but years of Zombie research taught me never to get any of their fluids into your system.
    Next time: goggles.
    I looked around for tools. There were none in my room as I had either traded them in or used them to break into places so my options were limited - I may have to add to my drivable fortress at the Barracks in 3 days. It was now 15:00hrs and I needed to get a move on. 2 hours of daylight left, so I'll just get the materials sorted and work on it tomorrow. No power meant no night work.
    Sifting through the drawers I found numerous drills and allen keys, as well as screwdrivers and replacement sheets of corrugated iron in case of another lightning incident at the University. Seemed promising. Moving the drills, I found a battery operated one and so took it outside and put it by the van. My heartbeat was still elevated as I kept thinking of the undead creature I took out - were there more? That's all I could think of.
    Dragging the heavy, squeaking pile outside I was aching and tired. Needed a few more of my drinks.
    Maintenance%20Workshop.png

    Taking a quick count, there was corrugated iron, rivets and assorted screws and bolts, spanner, drill, copper pipe, various lengths and thicknesses of wood, box cutter, zipties, propane tanks, various bleaches and chemicals, reinforced plastic and a cooking set for giving the foreign students upon their arrival at the halls. Talking of which, I hadn't visited in a while as I live on the outskirts. Tonight.

    Pulling out a big enough, faded blue tarp from the workshop I heaved it over the materials and tools, weighing it down with nearby bricks.
    Turning around, I was greeted by a low growl. One of the creatures had snuck up on me in the commotion caused by moving that noisy crap around!
    "Shit" was the only word I could muster as I ducked, dodging its' swing and rolling back to grab a length of wood from under the tarp. It slowly shuffled toward me, snarling its freshly blood-covered teeth and exhaling a foul, rotten breath. I held the wood out and ran towards it, aiming for head height.
    With enough force, I snapped its' head back, knocking it back but getting a load of splinters in my hands. Breathing through my teeth I looked for something safer, now dodging swings and bites as the creature gained on me. A hammer became my only choice. I'd prefer some distance between the creature and myself, but, swinging the hammer, I aimed a hit on its hand, breaking the bones and use of it. I was safe on one side now.
    Quickly recovering my now over-extended and hurting arm I spun the claw hammer round in my hand, and aimed for the temple of the head.
    A spurt of dark blood shot out from the now wailing head.
    I just left the hammer there until the weight of it was too much to bear.
    The creature fell down and back, knees bent, onto the ground.

    Deciding to move it in case of any more, I took it to a nearby bush, dragging it by the hammer in the skull and tried to cover the blood as best I can.
    I'm not sure why. Thinking rationally in these situations isn't easy.

    Exhaling loudly I cautiously approached my front door and quickly opened it, only to close it within a split second. Walking upstairs to my room I realised the agony in my hands. This happened to me as a child while running along a fence and using my hand to feel it. But I have no memory.
    My mood was low and I went to the bathroom to get the tweezers. Over the next hour or so, I had taken out well over 30 splinters. A few remained as they were impossible to remove. Maybe they'd be pushed out naturally. I had intended on shooting up tonight as a final goodbye as I had a few days left which were to be work-filled, but I popped some codeine instead. Enough to knock me out after a quick, painful tooth brush and face wash.

    Chapter 22.
    The morning of the 17th. 2 days to go until I leave to go and hopefully meet Mark. I just wasn't 100% confident he got my message. Still, it's worth a shot.
    Treating myself to a longer than usual shower I suited up, this time with my machete on my pistol belt, and went outside to begin on modifying the car. I couldn't help but have scenes from "pimp my rode" run through my head as I walked towards the tarpaulin, always checking, almost nervously twitching to check for sneaky Zombies. But it was the day. In fact it was 09:30 and the sun was coming up a treat. It was cold, but sunny enough to have that summery twist to it. The crisp gravel and leaves underfoot. The tang in the air.
    Thinking where to start first, I went for the obvious. Corrugated iron. I thought affixing it to the side of the vehicle and making ports would be a good idea. Two on each side and lockable from inside.
    I set about using a hacksaw to get through the vehicle and using the drill to start me off by making a hole I could put the blade through. Messy, but got it done. Now to measure up the iron.
    Heaving it up to the side of the van, I made an approximate measurement which covered the side and a bit more. Using the bits cut from the van I measured out the approximate size of the holes, making sure to cut a bit smaller. I'd need the iron for later.
    That hacksaw blade was well and truly spent. In fact, 3 of them were.
    Attaching the rivets was no problem. In total, doing this for both sides of the van took me up to midday. I was a one man team who was low on calories, so I took a break. Sipping my medical drink. Today seemed quicker for some reason. It was a new day.

    Reading through a few survival files I had amassed on DVDs and my Laptop, sipping in total 4 of my drinks, I came up with a concrete plan. Unfortunately there were no real weapons around, so my plan is purely defensive.
    I lay down, my stomach and guts bubbling, murmering, I had no sooner ran downstairs to return back to my project.

    I took to cutting holes out of the iron and reattaching them with zip-ties so they can be used as weapon ports and then closed. My ego inflated, I was rather impressed with this.
    Now to rivet them onto the back of the van and doors - I picked up the iron but let out a gasp. Looking down at my right hand I saw a rust-surrounded gash about 3" in length, my hand was now throbbing.
    "Aaarghhfuck!" I shouted through my teeth, clenching my wrist and putting it between my knees. As someone who hated needles, I had to get a Tetanus shot. Fingers crossed Mark has one when I get to him. I just wanted to leave as soon as I could. All I needed was to do this damned van up.

    I had slogged to a rainwater barrel and washed my hand off, wrapping it up in the bandages from the first aid box in the maintenance workshop. Fuck taking care - if there were any of those damned undead things roaming about, I'd have dealt with them. Nothing like pig-headed attitude to get the day moving. On the table across from the first aid box I spied a glove, the left hand one. Now to find the right hand one so I can cover my wound.
    Searching under the desk, sweeping aside the assorted nuts, bolts, nails and empty plastic wrappers I found it. I was now sorted to get this van completed. But not before popping some painkillers. Why? because I can.
    I walked out to the Berlingo, slightly disheartened but determined. The iron was painfully put onto the door at first and I just went for the crude screw through the iron and door, securing it onto the inner doorframe through a hole I hacked from the plastic door interior. After about 10 minutes, I had covered one door, giving it a firm shake there was no 'give' in it. Another to go.

    It was now 11:50 and I had made good progress. Now to put on the panel armour. Holding the bolts and nuts in my mouth, i giggled but held the iron against the back panel with my knee. Taking the drill I crudely put a hole through the iron and into the van. Once you did it a few times, it came naturally. In went one.
    I repeated the drilling for the next few holes, 6 in total and then secured the bolts inside the van with a spanner and tested the gun ports.
    Perfect. Some are a tad misaligned but if you poked a barrel out, then pulled it in - it works just fine.
    After 20 minutes, the other side was done. I won't bother with the back except to reinforce the windows.

    What with, I wasn't sure. By this point I was physically shattered but the pills had kicked in. I went for a walk around my Campus, nostalgically looking at the rooms and mentally noting where I lived.
    A real ghost town.
    Looking at the now defunct CCTV cameras I walked into a temporary steel fence where some work was being carried out. Shovels and hi-viz vests were left laying about.
    Steel fence?
    I recall seeing a program where someone used one to reinforce a car window. Fuck knows what it was but it seemed a viable option. Just had to somehow get it over the window.

    Dragging it back with my left hand I then lifted it over the bonnet and left it leaning against the window. It wasn't a bad fit. Slightly wide and tall but that can be sorted.
    Over the course of the next 20 minutes I had cut it to shape with a new hacksaw blade - now blunt - and sweated through the dressing on my hand.
    "British weather - never consistent" I thought as the sun went away and a cold, sharp breeze swept through me. Shivering I went back to the drill which was now running a bit flat, but managed to drill 2 downward holes through the top of the fence and into the roof of the van. I then secured the bottom with duct tape and zipties.
    Standing back I couldn't help but laugh, however it looked like adequate protection from light attacks - such as running things over and the like.

    By now it was 2pm. I had spent a total of 3 hours walking around, affixing metal to the van and arsing about with a bleeding hand. As of now, I am happy with my van, and would call it a day for now, making a list of things to take with me.

    Chapter 23.
    Moving the assorted metal and other items back into the pile, covering them with the tarpaulin I headed inside to tend to my hand and have a shower.

    The warm water running, dripping down my hand was refreshing as I looked up at the frosted shower-head. It was strange knowing I wouldn't be here in under 48 hours, but at the same time it felt as though the water was washing me away. A new birth. A new person. Time for adventures.
    I stood there for a good few minutes, closed-eyed, looking up at the shower head.

    Time to sit down and make a list of what to take.

    Walking out of the shower, hearing the door slam back to its' magnetic placement, I grabbed a towel and dried off, slowly patting my hand with a flannel and then dressing it in the sanitary items I had looted from the Chemist in Town. Excitement and Euphoria was rushing down my spine, but at the same time my mind was full of dread. I didn't want to be stuck here in boredom, but I could always come back, I thought. Then again I wanted to see what was beyond the City limits. Propaganda and gossip was all around, mostly through the Internet and Social Media. I never bothered with that crap - it was too depressing and people were like lemmings, believing it all.

    But it may be true. Rumors of the walking dead, staying only indoors and helping the local economy by supporting the markets by spending what you had, and earning through selling what you didn't need.

    Thinking about it got me curious and so I tuned in. I grabbed my portable radio and tuned into 109.6, the patriotic music was too much to bear. I was never one for Nationalism, I'm a lone wolf. So time to start acting that way.
    Tuning into the AM and Civilian band radio stations I would hear reports and idle chatter of what was going on. Turns out there were reports of undead in the City - but you don't hear that on 109.6.

    "Hello? Hello? Testing, is any"
    I was skimming through the frequencies and caught a part of an AM frequency broadcast. Any extra information would be great, so I moved the dial back to try and find the frequency again.
    "Is there anybody else out there? Come in please". I made a mental note of the station, easy to remember - 80.0AM
    "Roger that unidentified user - identify yourself" a deeper voice came over
    I was now listening to my first conversation ob the radio, the day I was leaving. I had quite clearly left this to the last moment.
    I left the radio running, listening out for any gossip about my place of residence, such as numbers of undead, patrols, road conditions and the like.

    Deciding to let my hand heal I collected what I wanted to leave with in boxes and ziplock bags of assorted sizes.
    I grabbed a plastic box from underneath my bed and immediately began to fill it with medical items. Antibiotics, dressings, painkillers, a needle in a protective plastic sheath, 2 bottles of water, some cotton wool balls, gauzes and half of the Valium pills as a start. I was literally overflowing with medical supplies, but these were my priotiy.
    I decided to take a few morphine pills for my hand as I had to move the mattress into the back of the van later on. I wanted to aim for about 10pm when leaving here. ID Card in my wallet and the wallet on my bed. Definitely keeping an eye on that.

    The medical box was full. Up next, collecting my medical drinks that I had slowly amassed over the last week or so. In total I had 180 - 5 crates of 36. They were stacked by the medical box now. My hand throbbing, but my hope was being rapidly lifted.

    An hour passed and tomorrow I would be leaving. I just wanted to go now though. It was 4:30pm now and I was easily able to just leave, and most importantly of all, not break the curfew.
    I pulled up my mattress and duvet, dragging the mattress first down the flight of stairs, hearing the radio fade as the door shut behind me and instead being replaced by the smooth scraping of the springy, cheap mattress across the wooden floor, then thudding down the stairs in synch with my feet.
    Leaving it at the door, I then returned to my room to continue packing. Now I had moved my sleeping arrangements, there was no going back.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited July 2012
    Time to escape!

    Chapter 24

    I looked at my list of possessions and then the number of boxes in my room. My backpack was my real lifeline though. It contained
    • My laptop and 2 spare batteries
    • My spare hard drives and DVDs
    • My balisong knife and pistol with 6 rounds
    • Balaclava
    • SAS survival mini book
    • A weeks worth of medication
    • A small amount of narcotics in the small top pocket
    • ID and money in a secret area
    • Spare underwear and toothpaste/toothbrush
    • Faked Drivers license

    It was just a mini bug-out-bag. Most of my possessions that I have decided to take with me would be around my mattress in the back of the van. I decided to leave spare clothes behind. I packed a bin bag with things I could potentially trade, such as clothing, old books, stolen items such as tinned food I had taken from Town, some old jewellery that I never wore and some drugs - Opiates and Benzodiazepines mostly.
    Evening was approaching and so I decided to pack the last of my items into the back of the van, labeling each box with a sharpie pen and also hung some items such as a torch, clothes hangers and a knife.

    The front of the van would be half defence and half regular - meaning I kept my bag with the pistol in next to me, and attached my machete underneath the steering column for quick access.

    I was practically ready to go. I had last caught sight of my laptop as I had shut it down around an hour ago, so it was now 18:15 or thereabouts, and getting very dark.

    Suiting up in my boots, Army socks, black combat trousers, a t-shirt and jacket I made my way round my room to prepare me for this little excursion - thinking of what lay ahead. I had only driven on a runway and was a bit shit back then with shifting gear. I never got the whole "bite point" thing on the clutch, so this could be an interesting night.

    Picking up my leather wallet, I then jingled my house keys into my back pocket and put my sentimental beanie hat on, reached for the door, closed it behind me, locked it, went downstairs and repeated the process with that door. Taking in a deep breath it then dawned on me that this was the end. I was leaving.
    Walking towards the van I took out the key and opened the door. Every little noise seemed so loud, on a dark and deathly silent night. There was no cloud cover, so the stars were watching me make this big step in my life.
    "Nah, stop being so soppy, you twat" I thought to myself, sitting in the fabric seat and becoming comfortable with easy access to my bag.

    I placed my feet on the pedals - clutch and accelerator, and turned over the engine.
    It purred and I put the clutch down while disengaging the handbrake.
    "FUCK"
    I stalled it.
    I noticed a rustling in the bushes up ahead, and went to start the engine again, thinking to myself that I really should have had some practice - just then the van lurched forward in first gear and I circled round the back of the building and into the car park I left from. Looking in my rear-view mirror I saw a pale human-like figure.

    It was one of them. A shiver went down me as I thought about just how close I had been sleeping and living to these things despite the so-called protection we were given from Martial Law.
    I knew where I was headed - past the railway and out of the City heading North. Mark was a trusted Family friend and it was highly likely he was at this Barracks due to his rank of Staff Sergeant and his lust for fucking things up - both intentionally and by accident.

    As I cruised round the empty, ghost town at night, I could feel the tyres grip quite well on the road. It hadn't snowed in a few days and I felt at ease.
    Putting on the radio to 106.9AM, the outlaw station, and headed down to the motorway towards freedom.

    But there was a hitch.
    Up ahead there was an armoured vehicle and 2 Military Personnel with another manning what looked like a .50 cal machine gun on top of the vehicle.
    With his arm outstretched and making a "Stop" sign, the other trained his rifle on me I immediately turned the radio off and did my best to slow down. I was trying not to stall the vehicle and kept it ticking over so I didn't have to face the embarrassment - or blatant lie that i can't drive, when pulling away.

    The stop-Soldier approached my window -
    "So, where are you off to tonight, mate?" he asked, with his friends still aiming their rifles at me.

    "Just out of here in all honesty - I've been here a while but I need to find my family - you know, that sorta crap" I blurted out.

    He laughed, "Your family? Honestly, I doubt they would still be around. Let's see your papers please - you do realise there is a curfew in place? I hope this is all above board". It was now that I began to shake and had trouble swallowing. Reaching into my bag and notifying him that I was not armed - and deliberately making eye contact with the other two trigger-happy bastards, I pulled out the forgery and handed it to him.

    "Hm, ok" he turned it over "licensed since last November..new driver..Student.." ok, not been driving long then?"

    "Nah, but I'm really in a hurry - I need to be on my wa-"
    "I know, he interrupted, and motioned the others to lower their weapons
    "That's why I'm letting you pass. Good luck out there. You won't have the likes of us around to help you out"
    I smiled and pulled away, this time a lot smoother than I had anticipated, and drove down the pitch dark road, where vehicles were dumped on the side, and a few bodies were hanging out of the burnt-out wrecks of a few of them.

    This was it. I had escaped.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited July 2012
    Really making headway with this. Also added new images if you fancy going back a page ;)
    Finally escaped and staying with a Military mate now. Apologies for the slow start - was writing as I went with the ideas. I soon broke out though.

    *Cue "I want to break free" by Queen*
  • DfgDfg Admin
    edited July 2012
    Fucking A bro, we need to sell this stuff.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited July 2012
    I'd gladly find a publisher :) had a bit of a delay with the last few days, but rest assured there is a chapter being posted tonight. Just need some quiet time to myself (not even fapped in an AGE as I've had hardly any time to myself)...but fankoo :)
  • GoingNowhereGoingNowhere Global Moderator
    edited July 2012
    Awesome stuff so far :) Would make a great e-book
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited July 2012
    First off, apologies for the delay. Been up the last few nights catching up with programming and chemistry stuff, and tonight I am literally falling asleep at the keyboard. So here goes

    Chapter 25.
    Racing down this ghostly motorway reminded me of the time I walked to a friends' house when it had snowed a few years before. No cars, abandoned buses and the feeling of total isolation. On one hand it was comforting, the other I was constantly worried something would smash through my makeshift castle-on-wheels. Talking of which I could hear the corrugated iron clanking around, but it was holding - for now.

    My mind was calm. I was riding that wave between anxiety and excitement. The breeze now coming in through the opened window was refreshing. Tonight there was no smell of burning corpses. I will be running into some things I'm sure I had never prepared for now that I had left the relative safety of the City.

    The Barracks seem ages away on foot, but were in reality, about 2 miles so took several minutes in a car travelling around 50mph. Up above I could see the turn-off on the left, and as the headlights shone on the grass verge, bodies were piled on top of one another. Something of a human compost heap with the rotting happening at the lowest level.
    I leant out of the window and could make out bullet holes.

    Time to act carefully. I didn't want to end up like these poor fuckers, but I had a reason to be here.

    Going into second gear, then first, I approached the newly-built but weathered concrete wall and stepped out of the safety of the Citroen Berlingo. These guys who were looking down on me didn't know who I was from Adam, but I started off slow. They were grunts, after all.

    "Hi. My name is Jay, I am here to see Staff Sergeant Mark Harrison. I used to work for a Civillian Contractor in Camps across the County and have sent him a letter. I have some weapons in the car for my own survival but can hand them over if need be. I await your instruction."

    i stood there for what seemed like forever as a breeze picked up. There I was, alone on the road, standing under spotlights with machine guns trained on me and emotionless grunts standing behind them.

    "Hold on" one of them shouted as he spoke into a radio. I could just make out him mentioning my name, Marks' and that I need to see him.

    I leant on the bonnet of the van and kept staring indirectly at the 2 soldiers.

    "Ok, drive round this side" one said, pointing "and park on the right. You'll see where"

    "Thanks!" I said with genuine gratitude. I could now relax and breathe properly. Hopefully this would be a good start to my adventures, and where I wanted to end up. Ideally someplace alone - and start over.

    I was lost in my own thoughts and absent-mindedly drove round into a covered workstation that was crudely marked "visitors" and stalled the van into a parking spot. The irony was, there were no other visitors. I was in a makeshift hangar, essentially, with two Soldiers approaching my wonky-parked can from behind.
    "I need to get better at this shit" I muttered to myself, emphasising the last word as I leant over the seat and almost winding myself in the darkness, grabbed my bag and shut the door.

    No sooner had I turned round than I was greeted by the a Military police unit. They weren't really Soldiers - just a hybrid blend of "I'll shoot you in the face while arresting you" type sadists. I never had much time for these sorts.
    They regurgitated some spiel and demanded I submit my weapons to them and assured me that they would be kept safe and be returned upon my leave
    "You know why - it's a procedural thing - can't trust anyone these days" the more lighthearted one said
    "Yeah I understand" I replied, reaching in for my items "you do realise this looks dodgy, I should let you go through, but here they are". I produced the Glock with a homemade silencer on and my balisong knife. I left the garrot wire as that was technically a survival saw, and the machete stayed in the van. For now.

    "Wow" said the stern-faced, tubbier one
    "What?" I snapped back
    "A homemade silencer? And an illegal firearm? I don't know whether you're really smart or really dumb" he calmly said, holding it by the handle as if it were a bag of crap.
    "Well, you know - these days you find all sorts on people who attack you, and you've gotta survi-"
    I was cut short by the happier one.
    "Look Lee, give him a break. The poor kid has been living in hell for however long. Desperate times"
    "I was just saying, Daniel.." my new friend Lee heavily emphasised back through gritted teeth.

    "Thank you Mr..."
    "MacDermot" I replied.
    "We will see that you will get these upon your leave" the more stone-faced one said as he placed them both into a clear plastic Police evidence bag.
    "No worries, Dan" - I felt more at ease, but I never fully trusted Police-types.
    "So, who are you seeing here?" the joker asked as I locked the van
    "Staff Sergeant Mark Harr-"
    "Oh man, what a joke that guy is", Dan cut me off as we three talked and walked across to the main building "How do you know Mark then? Or dare I ask" Dan said lighthearteddly as Dan walked tightly next to me, making sure I didn't get lost or cause havoc, which the latter would be impossible seeing as there was an armed guard at literaly every corner and doorway.
    "Well he's a family friend, my legal Guardian and I used to work in the kitchens here is the short answer" I blurted out as if I had practiced a thousand times - "he's like a second father to me".
    "That's a bold statement" Lee added. I was growing tired of his shitty remarks, but I couldn't do anything other than hope we hurried up.

    This place had got a lot larger since I had last been here a few months before the outbreak. It had been Summer, and I recall walking back down the motorway topless in one of my manic moments.
    Those were the days.
    "So here's the Main Building, and I'll take you to the Officers' Mess. He managed to blag his way in there tonight. Don't ask why."
    "Or how" Lee added, sarcastically.

    "Thanks guys. Anything else I should know?" I asked as they turned to leave, their red berets standing out like a beacon.
    "I'm sure you can find out from Mark - he has mentioned you a few times" joker said
    "Cheers"
    I turned around and opened the door to the Officers' Mess"

    "Jay! You sly little b-b-bastard! Come here, grab a-a beer and twist my ear!" Mark howled across the large room from the corner , sitting at a low-end bar, and all half-a-dozen faces were looking at me. I starting to get tears in my eyes at how long it had been since I heard a familiar voice. There I stood. The wannabe Army Commando in his combat trousers, bulled boots and bug-out-bag.
    "I see you still have the s-st-t-stutter" I hollered back and stuck my tongue out slightly as I weaved through the tables and bemused faces of those around me, all dressed a lot more ragged than when I remember being here last Summer. The room was large - enough to seat at least 150 people comfortably, and was one of the old dining rooms I used to work at on the base. Foldable tables and metal chairs were scattered around, indicating to me that most sense of order within this place had disappeared as soon as it did outside in the 'real world' as this felt like an alternative reality.


    Note: If the stuttering is annoying, I can remove it. I just thought I'd make the character true to real life form as he is actually my legal Guardian and a fucking awesome guy.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited August 2012
    Made a ton of progress with my internet being down. Here goes!

    Chapter 26
    "So, how's life been treating ya, geek?", Mark said to me as I pulled up a stool to the bar and ordered me a half-pint of beer. His Military career, spanning over 25 years made his a critic of any sort of academic individuals - despite me not giving much of a toss about my degree. Especially as I had been rudely interrupted by an mysterious outbreak which reanimates the dead.

    Supplies had run out, so I was told by a fellow drinker, so alcohol is now being distilled on-site and there aren't any brands left. It was "Beer", "Vodka" or "Whiskey". Fuck knows what was in it or how it's made, but it looked and smelt the real deal in tidemarked glasses that could have done with a wash. Mark paid for it and threw a silver coin-like piece of metal across the bar.

    My eyes sharply darted along with it as it moved along the oak bartop.
    "What's the currency here?" I ask
    "You can t-trade items for them - they're A-A-Army-issue currency. Slightly more p-powerful, per-se than the Pound Sterling, but that's accepted, too" he explained, stuttering and half-drunk. It made for a funny talk.
    "Are they minted here? Or is it centralised?"
    "Centralised, of course" scoffed the fellow drinker again to my right, but seemingly out of nowhere. "Do you really think us chaps would sit on top of our own minting factory? Ha. I wish" he continued, his voice sounding very old-school. Almost Officer-like. He was just missing the moustache.
    I began thinking if I should trade items for this currency, but I had no idea how long I would be here. I was itching to get out into the big, wide world - but equally the slight Anarchy of this Military complex and safety also made me want to stay put.
    The currency thought was soon abandoned. I had plans to snoop around. Mark was known to get me many things from his job or Afghanistan. Orders of 100 Army grade glowsticks were common, as were magazine dump pockets and holsters, so I knew I would be leaving here with something if all went well. Last I heard he had a Mk.IV bulletproof vest. I just hoped I would be on his generous side for the duration of my stay.

    I turned my attention to my hands as I had totally forgot about the drop in temperature there.
    I sipped the beer. It wasn't bad at all, and cold, too. Very malty but at "an average" of 7%, I was instantly a fan.

    "This c-c-cunt is Henry Rolleston, Or Royce as w-we call him...after the car he probably owns. Posh bastard" Mark said rather openly, and it got Henry's attention, that's for sure. Royce was dressed in fatigues and had his collection of ribbons on display. The recent adoption of a new camouflage fatuge meant the shirt wasn't tucked in and to me, went well with the declining state of the place in general.
    "Yeah, well remember Basic Training and how I beat you by one point at shooting, you pot-bellied bastard? I wasn't scared to get promoted and it paid off" Rolls snorted as he laughed to himself, downing the last of his whiskey.

    I thought that a wage really didn't matter nowadays, and neither rank unless you were here on base.
    Would they live here? Forever? Or would they eventually leave?
    My head was full of questions.
    "Oh and b-before I forget, this is Adrian. Adrian this i-i-is Jay, a good friend of m-mine" Mark introduced, as I jokingly replied with "He's yet to touch me there yet. Y'know, the unofficial Uncle type guy". I joked, getting a giggle from him and a sarcastic look from Mark.

    "So", Mark pepped up, changing the subject and making my head rapidly turn to the left, "w-w-what brings you h-heere?" Mark asked me, adding "bec-c-cause I got a letter f-from you. Some fat bastard drove h-here, got the attention of security out front and l-l-left. Never did get his name" he sounded almost disappointed.
    "Well, homo", I jibed at Mark's inability to get Vik's name "I wanted to escape the City. You know how boring it was there before all this shit went down, and it only got worse after you know, what with the Marshal Law thanks to you killjoys". Mark and Rolls laughed, as well as the barman, they obviously knew about it and found amusement in how they had power over us civilians. Bastards, I thought as I sipped my beer.
    "I'm not lonely, I just want to explore, run some errands to get to know people or whatever is out there and see where life takes me" I said as I began to roll up a cigarette, "what's the etiquette on smoking here?" I asked
    "The world h-has gone to sh-shit, so who gives a fuck" he snapped back. "D-didn't know y-y-you smoked tobacco. I r-remember the days of your w-w-weed growing. Reminds me of Afghan".
    "Ha" I nervously laughed back not wanting to come across as a druggie hobo who had blagged his way in - but to be honest, that kinda was the truth.

    "Yeah they were the golden days" I confidently replied, "long summers, a new girl every month, a garden that smelt great - and what now? A stinking shithole where the dead are inhaled and hang over you every day to the point of normality and the world has gone to crap. How are the old lot? Jodie, Johnny and Dave?" I asked.
    "Oh, long gone" Mark said without a stutter.

    Long before all this came along I was a Civillian Contractor who worked the kitchens and my god, it was a helluva job - but a fun one at that. Constant banter and behaviour that would have got you in front of a sexual harrasment tribunal or sacked on site in any other place. Each Summer and Christmas holiday I'd do a few weeks work, usually 4am until 10pm. The pay was great, the atmosphere was like nothing else - and playing with weapons or riding round in a tank listening to "True" by Spandau Ballet was the icing on the cake.
    Despite the hard work, serving 300+ Cadets or Military Personnel, I really missed it. Especially the Gurkhas. They were the hardest working people I had ever crossed paths with. Put me to shame on the dishwasher, that's for sure.
    "Cool" I muttered as I lit the white stick up in my mouth.
    "Damn it's been a while" I commented "had to keep fit back at mine, plenty of night stalking and you know...acquiring goods"
    "Y-y-you haven't changed a fuckin' bit, Jay", Mark laughed, "and neither have you, M-M-Mark" I poked back.

    "Well, shitbag, I g-guess you want to stay the n-n-night?"
    "You got that right", my eyelids were starting to involuntarily shut at times by now.
    Mark got up from his arse-imprinted stool and walked me through to his barracks as I grabbed my bag and slung it over my shoulders, saying goodnight to Royce and Adrian. Mark was still wearing his fatigues but nowhere near as smart as he once did. His boots, however, were as clean as ever. I could see the ceiling in those small shiny steel-toed things as his size 8 feet moved around.
    "It's pretty late, Mark. I might crash out now. Can I get to my van if need be?" I asked
    "You d-d-drove here? Ha, remember the days where you said you didn't t-trust yourself driving?" he joked back
    "Well it's not like I have to worry about my anger affecting civillians nowadays, is it? I can drive into whatever the hell I want - maybe not the perimeter here, but you know.."

    We turned round a corner, his boots clip-clopping on the dusty floor, and the coridoors were as I remembered them - just with more paperwork stuck to them - different colours flashed by - "In case of outbreak on base", "Pull your weight!" and other simple, to-the-point exclamation basic bits of information either hand written or printed. Along the walls, more kit was openly available. Respirators were hanging on the walls and as were NBC suits on the improvised racks above them. Things were always prepared here, so it seemed. Emergency could strike at any moment which made me wonder - where was my kit now I'm here?
    I looked up to see the familiar pipes, but now more dusty as the Polish cleaners had all but long gone. The labels reattached with tape, saying "Natural Gas", "Oxygen" and the like. Half the ceiling was taken up by them as they ran off behind doors I had no idea what were for. One thing did remain from memories, and it was the paint colour of these halls. An off-white divided by an olive green wooden divider at elbow height for me.
    Clutching our warm beers, Mark abruptly stopped and turned to his left, opening a door with his rank and name on.
    "Here's the l-love sh-shack..kit down h-h-here" he said, arm outstretched, spilling his beer a bit onto the olive green carpet, his wooden desk and computer, turned off, was about 2ft back from the doorfrae.

    He paused.
    "So, how did you get the letter?" I was dying to know more.
    "Like I said, some burly f-fffucker came up to the gate apparently. Just left it on the floor a-and walked off - while b-b-being watched by the grunts out there"
    "So no name or anything? Just a guy in a car, I guess, who stood there, hands up, and then put a letter on the ground which was hurriedly collected by your troop then?"
    "Yup", Mark yapped.
    "Hm. Ok, well at least it got here" I said whilst my eyes began to peek inside the dimply lit room, once again my eyelids were getting heavy and I almost passed out there and then.

    I looked closer as Mark stood there, tipsy and silent - which made a change.
    The lights weren't dimmed. Just half of them were broken and it sure looked like a love-shack. Just a seedy one. A real seedy one at that. There was a smell that I couldn't put my finger on and I would have to get used to it if I were to stay here. Thoughts raced through my mind briefly on what it could be, but I refused to dwell on it for longer than a few seconds, shaking my head to rid it of the images if it.
    "I'll b-b-be at the bar if you w-want me" he said, shutting the door as I mooched in, watching my step, and he staggered off down the clip-cloppy, dusty coridoor back to his haunt.

    The office was a bit different to when I worked here. There were more maps around and paperwork stuck to pinboards, and due to his rank, plenty of firepower. On the desk there was a Sig P226 and an L129A1 rifle leaning against a steel cupboard. I picked up the rifle which had no magazine in and the door to the cupboard creaked open slowly. I peeked in.
    I opened it.

    My eyes widened as I looked into this wet dream of any young man. There must have been at least 1,000 rounds there - for both weapons. On the far left side was an SA80, as expected. Plenty of 5.56 ammo boxes stacked on top of one another.
    I looked up - 3 fragmentation grenades and on the hangers were parts of body armour - helmet, vest, gloves, glasses and ear defenders. This was more than I had ever seen at this place and the tired urge to try it on was almost too much to bear. I knew the strategic importance of the Barracks as the City was a hub of Terrorist-watch because of the proximity to the ports to France and the motorway to London. Plenty of work on Terrorism taught me this - so the barracks were always going to be harbouring some defencive items. And offencice ones.

    I finally took my backpack off, feeling the weight of the drinks, and cracked 2 of them open. 800 calories. I felt like I had gone back in time having these things. By the morning I needed to have necked 6, and I was back on the road to being full of energy.
    Talking of which, a box also caught my attention. Before I knew it there were 3 - weighing in at 25kg each, all imprinted with "MRE - MEAL READY TO EAT, EXP. 2030" - plenty of Military munch if need be. I may have to ask for a few.
    Ah fuck it. It was now 10pm and I was knackered. for once I felt safe. Even if there were some maurauders or undead around, I had faith in these guys and their seemingly unlimited supply of ammunition - especially if each guy here had half as much as Mark within arms reach. I just worried as the noise could severely attract attention from yet more undead, but whatever - their place, not mine. Their rules, too. Not mine.

    Stripping down to my boxers I got into the sleeping bag which was laid out on a few pillows, and stared at the dimly lit ceiling. Those square tiles were there, the sort that you can push up and hide things in. A few were cracked, some were stained - don't ask me how. I remember wondering the same thing at school. I didn't even want to think about the floor, or the desk knowing how much porn he asked me to download for him over the years. Still, the stale smell of whatever-it-was versus almost 100% protection.
    It was a trade-off I was willing to take.

    It was no University Campus life that I made for myself, that's for sure, but it was my new home for however long.
    I played out in my head and hoped for a dream where I was the Road Warrior from Mad Max and couldn't wait to escape reality - lying on the floor of an office, surrounded by weapons and pissed Commanders and Officers.
    I closed my eyes, going over different scenarios that may happen once I leave this place, hearing the distant roar of laughter from the bar. Another day gone, but a milestone passed.

    Chapter 27.

    "Morning gay boy", I was awoken by the rancid breath of Mark's foul mouth. My back ached, and I was in no mood for his army banter.

    Note to self - get a proper bed next time.

    "So, are you eating these days or has the Crohn's still kept you from enjoying the basic essentials of life?" he enquired as he pulled his tropical DPM camouflage trousers on by his desk.
    After working and knowing Mark for years, the sight of his hairy flesh at..oh man, 6am, was not enough to bother me.

    "Come on, slacker" he shouted, walking over to me as I gathered my thoughts, rubbing my eyes while looking at the stained ceiling, then catching a glimpse of the dusty, neglected carpet.
    "Nah man, I'll get a few of my medical drinks from the van", but Mark pleaded with me to eat, citing my Opiate abuse as a reason to abstain from chewing anything.


    Sitting up I was more awake and I slipped on my clothes from yesterday in a matter of seconds - only taking time with my boots before burying my hand into my backpack to get the van keys.

    As Mark looked through his desk drawers and checked paperwork I spun the keys, jangling, round my right index finger. "Just gonna get some bits, meet you in the mess hall?"
    "A-aure thing, knobcheese!"
    I sighed, "Let it go, Jay..." and I hopped through the doorway, into the now familiar coridoors through the mess hall where breakfast was being served. Catching a glimpse there were around 30 troops and what appeared to be a full English breakfast. "I'll be here soon" I thought so I continued on through and towards my mobile home, as I thought of it.

    Almost walking into the door, pushing the bar and instead of a fresh, crisp Winters breeze I was greeted by a foul smelling odour.
    "Oh..fuck" I said as I covered my lower face, a thin layer of ash was blowing around in front of me and looking ahead I saw two troops carrying a stretcher with a body on.
    I try to catch a glimpse and found it almost impossible not to dry heave. It was pale, skinny - so the bones were very obvious.
    I dipped my head down, looking at the floor and headed straight to the workshop where my van was parked, passing a couple of troops wearing respirators. Their spooky hollow eyes following me. The deep, mechanical breaths putting a shiver down my spine.
    I could see my van and clunked the key into the back door of the vehicle. I went to grab 6 of my drinks. All this way just to get my breakfast, whereas the others get a hot, tasty-smelling one. I just had to ignore it after years of having to deal with these frustrating feelings.

    Slamming the door shut and locking it, I held the drinks between my fingers and gripped as I jogged across the open area of the entrance to the barracks. With all this fuss going on I began to miss my solitary place back in the City. I had my own schedule, no insults from ranked people and nowhere near as bad smell. This stench was really beginning to make me nauseous.
    I got back to the door and spat a few times on the floor to clear my mouth and nose of the ash and intoxicating smell from outside. What the hell was on that stretcher? And Why the fuss?
    I had questions.

    Heading back into the mess hall, it felt like yesterday, seeing the bar in the corner and the tables. Just now they were filled. Filled with tired troops.
    Standing still I looked for Mark.
    "Found ya" my mental voice said as I walked through the narrow tables and chairs, "morning, hey, y'alright?" I murmered to the troops as I squeezed past and finally sat down next to Mark, finally dumping my drinks onto the table, popping one out and shaking it up - they're milkshake style after all.

    "S-s-s-so what do you make of t-this place?" Mark asked, his NC Officer friends looked at me sipping their coffee.
    I had to make it positive - "Yeah not bad, but is that smell going to be here every morning?"
    "Oh that?" one of the Officers piped up, "that's just our disposal method, I'm sure you know of those undead? Well let's just say that we are rather popular with them. I'm Richard by the way"
    "Nice to meet you Richard" I said, feeling almost compelled, "Yeah I've ran into those things a couple of times"
    "Well past the City limits, it's a fuckin' free-for-all. Honestly you best be armed to the teeth and fit as a fiddle if you leave this base and head out to the wastes" Richard threw upon me.
    I sighed, this confirmed my fears. I'm not that fit, and I need to rely on those goddamned drinks.
    "Do you offer medical services here?" I enquired
    "Well, obviously" Richard responded, "I know w-w-where you're going with this, Jay" Mark butted in.
    "You want us to s-s-sort out your C-c-crohn's disease"
    "Yes, then train here while I recover" I threw back at Mark, "that is, if you can afford to operate or do what's needed"
    "I'm sure we can sort something out" Richard gracefully said to me, shutting Mark up as he returned to his coffee, and chomping on a sausage. Their demeanour and paranoia in the facial expressions reminded me of Kubrick's classic, Dr Strangelove. There was just something...odd.

    Finally I opened my drink and pierced the foil top with a straw, sipping the luke-warm toffee milkshake liquid. That was my equivalent of their nice, warm food. I got lost looking at the room. Plenty of chatter was coming from the other tables as lower ranks talked about whatever was on their minds. A few glances looked my way then quickly returned back to where they were. Their slightly grimey surroundings not bothering them one bit.
    Well I guess this is home to them.
    I snapped back to the present.

    "R-r-right, see you in my office, fag", Mark made sure to shout as he cleared away his plate and handed it to a Lance Corporal who was clearing the tables, his apron stained with all manner of colours. Rancid colours.
    I continued to sip my drink and saw Richard leave along with a few other high-ranking Officers at the end of the table I had yet to meet.
    I began to get flashbacks of School, alone on a table having my lunch. Just this time I am an adult, and there was no food.
    "Fuck it" I said to myself as I turned around to talk to the guys behind me.

    "Hey lads, sorry to butt in, just thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Jay. Used to work here in the kitchens", the table of 6 stared in silence at me.

    Just as the awkwardness began to creep in, the soldier opposite me introduced himself, "Alright mate - I'm Jack, this is Tom, Monty, Babs and Mike, nice to see a new face around here"
    It was nie to meet some new faces on my side, too.
    "I know this is forward, but can any of you lads tell me what the hell that stink was this morning? I got here last night and holy shit it woke me up" I bellowed across the table, knowing my breath stank of toffee, but their ragtag appearance suggested they didn't care
    "Oh that was YOU who came here last night?!" Monty exclaimed as he was about to shovel a spoonful of baked beans into his mouth
    "Yes, yes it was" I replied, hoping to stay on track
    "Ah, well, nice to finally meet you" he said, now knowing who I was and no longer seeming reserved.
    I had won their confidence. I just needed this to web round the barracks despite being shit with names.
    "Well that stench" Monty said "is just the disposal of the body. Us lower ranks get assigned to the detail of disposing of the undead corpses we shoot down overnight and during the day at the end of each shift. So yes, those were burning bodies you woke up to this morning" he said honestly, staring me straight in the eye the whole time, almost hypnotically, "but seeing a fresh face round here, especially when I had my machine gun trained on you last night - well, that makes the job all worth it. I'm guessing you know one of the toffee-nosed SOB's over on the other tab;e?" he continued in an increasingly hushed tone
    "Yeah, Mark" I just simply replied with
    "Ah ok, not a bad guy. Just the st-st-stutter..although on drill he never has it. Weird. I'm guessing you knew him from working here?"
    I didn't want to say too much, I needed them to talk
    "Also just another thing before I" shaking my drink to signify its' emptiness"leave, are you guys tied to the Scout Teams in the City at all? Living there and surviving was a fucking nightmare. I managed but man things weren't easy"
    All the guys laughed, Babs perked up in his distinctive Northern accent
    "Yes that's us alright. Just keeping you scummy sods in line that's all. Not a nice job what with the attacks from rooftops and the mountains of shit in bin bags. Even attacks from some of ya"
    "You mean us civillians?" I said in disbelief
    "You got it" all the guys said in an almost practiced unison
    "Well I'll be" I muttered under my breath
    "Well, nice meeting you all - hope to see you around. Maybe I'll join you on duty if ever you get bored. Got plenty of entertainment with me, if you catch me" I leant in and told the group, referring to DVDs I had, some containing different types of pornography, as well as tobacco and drugs. Different strokes for different folks.

    I turned around to pick up the remaining 5 drinks I had left to get through today and stood up, nodded at the 5 lads around the table just as the announcement was made
    "The time is oh-six fifty hours, I repeat 06:50 hours. There are 10 minutes remaining for those on morning duties, so get your food in you and report to your post. CO out"

    Just in time. The seed of socialite was planted, now time to let it grow.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited September 2012
    Chapter 28.

    Heading past crowds of troops filing out of the room towards the main exit I headed towards the one I was used to. I soon found out the way I am used to is the Officers one, the Officers' exit.
    Nodding towards the 5 lads I was sitting with, heading in the opposite way, I pressed the door bar and entered into the corridors which I only just realised were for Official use. The smell of diesel hung in the air, I hoped the ventilation shafts would do a better job. I didn't fancy getting even more shitfaced off the fumes.
    My boots clopping past 3 rooms spaced a way apart from one another, the noise of motors or engines whirring. No surprise as all three doors were labelled "Generator" and their number, with crumpled paperwork pinned to the.
    I was surprised.
    The dank feeling of claustrophobic damp, dusty tunnel running with pipes along the roof soon became home to me as I missed the solitary nature of the last few months living by myself, operating alone in a single open room - excluding the bathroom.

    I shook my head. Trying not to reminisce was high on my list of priorities. Like my past girlfriends it would only cause more hurt, regret and distractions from surviving.
    I almost walked into the door on my left, making a racket and slamming it into the door.
    Ki-BOOM.
    "Hey-de-hey!"
    "F-f-fuuuck you scared me you little bastard!" Mark exclaimed from behind his desk as he stood up, white as a sheet.
    "So I was breathing in the undead this morning without a respirator? I'm hoping I don't turn into one as that was some nasty ash and odour..." I began
    "Oh man, don't.." Mark started to explain the implications of this method, almost on a smooth and uninterrupted roll "..just don't go there as it is pretty n-n-nasty. I mean stay away from the pits where they get t-t-torched and them covered in l-lime.."
    "So how many do you go through per night? Or Day?" I asked, poking my nose in further.
    Standing up and sitting on his worn but comfy looking leather chair, Mark reclined as if he were an expert on the subject.
    He inhaled sharply, "Well, usually between 6 to 10 per day and 10 to 12 at night on average"
    "And?" I inquired further as I sat on the other chair in his office, placing my 5 drinks onto his dark, worn, beautifully scrawled desk. Obviously Mark had a lot of free time. Not bad for a Non-Comissioned Officer.

    "Well some are st-st-stuied medically, y'know. They keep some in the infirmary if you want to pop down there or take Dicky's medical advice. The others g-get burnt, t-t-to a crisp"
    "Any chance I can get some sort of help with my medical woes" I asked Mark
    "P-p-probably" he muttered back as he went through the drawers in his desk
    "In that case then, off I go", I headed towards the door with a drink
    Mark shouted
    "Down the corridor, across the road and t-t-there you are! Twat in a hurry"
    "CHEERS!" I shouted as I went on my way.

    I popped the foil on my drink with the straw and headed across the open road towards the other buildings, seeing drill practice and hearing shots in the background. Weaving between the people I hurried down the grass verge, almost running into the infirmary.

    Before me was a receptionist, "appointment?" she snapped.
    "Oh it's more..on the fly" I said back, just as quickly to avoid being kicked out just in case security was that tight.
    "Oh-kay" the petite, blonde hat-laden, blazer-wearing receptionist said back as she got up and explained she was off to talk to the head Medic Officer.
    Sitting down to catch my breath on the chairs behind me in the corridor I looked at the paint and took note of my surroundings. The couple of books on the desk, almost empty, the yellow nicotine stains on the ceiling
    "Fuck I hope I don't get an infection" I sighed through my teeth, rolling my eyes. This looked more like a Dark Ages medical facility, but given the circumstances, heck, I didn't mind.
    Much.

    "Hey there, Jay I believe"
    I was interrupted from my staring at the ceiling
    "Oh, erm yes...yes" I hurriedly replied to a man removing a bloodied apron
    "Hi there, my name is Andy, don't bother with rank, but I run this infirmary. How can I help you?"
    "Well" I replied, taken back by his kind-tone "I have a medical condition, Crohn's disease and been battling a twist in y gut for a long time. I was wondering if there was any help you could give me - or perform on me, in order to survive this...new world" I hesitated.
    Andy laughed, his 5 o' clock shadow shone in the light. His dark hair, jet-black and tall stature made me feel more at ease. He must know what he is doing.
    "Well sure, we can help you, who sent you here?"
    "Oh, Staff Sergeant, soon to be Warrant Officer Mar-"
    "Mark...I knew it" he interrupted", "well I'm sure we can remove the twist. Come into my room and we can discuss it further as to be honest, the infirmary is more about research as opposed to operating right now so we are rather empty"

    I followed him through the still nicotine-stained roof, but the rest shone well, such as the handrails and floor tiles. We walked through double-directional swinging doors, frosted glass obscured what was behind them, but I pushed through, "not far" Andy said". He seemed rather at ease and nonchalant about rank or order for someone here.
    Suddenly he stopped and turned to his right, opening a door and creaked open a wooden door, no taller than he was as his stature only became apparent. A tall man, with stubble and a bloodied apron. Following him into his office there formaldehyde-filled jars with body parts and foetuses in were, lining the shelves. Paperwork filled in the gaps, and I took a seat on the other side of his desk.

    "So, give me some detail, how long this has been going on for and what we can do to help" Andy calmly asked, offering me a cigarette, which I took with the speed of an inconsiderate thief.
    After lighting and taking a deep inhale I told him about my 6 years of medical woes, and that I survived on drinks, showing him the empty bottle I had drank on the ways to his.

    "Hm, I see" he said tapping a pen against his lips.
    "Take your time" I replied hurriedly, secretly hoping he could cure me
    "We can remove the inflamed part of the gut, the procedure will take a few hours but hey, after about 6 weeks of recovery you will be fit as a fiddle...it's not a tricky procedure - I'm sure you know of the crap situations of war, working under pressure. Here is calm and we can take time, plus we have plenty of fuel for the generators and medical supplies" he confidently said. "We can get it going within the next 12 hours. If you don't drink any of these drinks from midnight tonight" he added, looking at his watch, it was 11am, "then come here at 0600 hours, we can get the procedure underway!"

    I was taken aback "is there anything you can give me to calm my nerves? I've always been very apprehensive about these environments and as much as I want it done, I will panic and the last thing I need is to run away" knowing that I would gladly run into the undead, unarmed than face the Surgeon's knife.
    I followed him as he made a beeline for his room. I stopped at the door as he continued - before I knew it he threw me 3 10mg valium tablets from his desk drawer (which slightly concerned me) and told me to go enjoy the day then come visit him at 0600 hours with a smile. Picking the pills up, I attempted to show him where the twist was, he took note and I was on my way.
    Slightly worried I kept on going, thanking the attractive receptionist along my way to find Mark and tell him of the strangely good news.

    The smell of diesel was becoming normal now as I snaked through the corridors.
    "F-f-fuck, stop sneaking up on me!" he shouted as he was reading a "40 up" porn magazine in his office.
    "No worries mate" I sighed as he was in a ruffle, "blowing your load with ammo and spunk, I see? Well I can get an operation for my Crohn's so I'm a happy chap" I said in a relaxed, almost silent tone of voice taking a 10mg valium pill with Marks' glass of Whiskey.
    Dan, that burnt. Probably didn't mix well with the fumes.
    I went to sit down after being on my feet for a while and he stopped me "So you're getting an operation done? Thank fuck! It's been what, 6 years?"
    "Yup" I confidently replied and reclined in the chair opposite his desk, a grin creeping across my face. Finally i could escape the need for the drinks and medical bullshit allowing me to work on my drug issues. Just need to remember, from midnight onwards I am nil-by-mouth, and see Andy at 0600.

    I explained things to Mark and he seemed happy for me to go ahead with it, telling me of Andy's competence. Mostly research but there was a great surgery team apparently, so I was going to be in good hands.
    I spent the rest of the day wandering around the barracks, trying not to get would up about my upcoming short-notice surgery. Watching the target practice, drill and standing by the entrance gate - watching an undead get shot to pieces by the GPMG machine gun emplacement.
    Before I know it, the sun was going down, and I had an early night, getting to sleep at 6:30pm, setting my alarm for 3am. 9 hours sleep should do me good.
    It's been a crazy few days, and it's about to get crazier.

    Chapter 29.

    Like all Hospital encounters before, I couldn't get any sleep. Popping 10g of Valium I spent the night reading notes I had written about survival in the past and novels which were valuable materials nowadays, as entertainment was scarce - finding any active internet connections which were few and far between. There was an intranet with the Military however, so I could access certain portions of that when Mark was around.

    I was sat, my naked back against the cold, breeze block wall of Mark's office while he inspected defence detail outside - known for slacking and taking his time, reading about building shelter and basic defence.
    "Weapons" my mind kept repeating
    I got back to reading
    "WEAPONS"..my brain just kept screaming at me.
    It was now 02:00 so I had 4 hours to go. I took out one of my drinks as I really wasn't hungry that past day and stood up, drinking it quickly and dumping the 200ml container into the bin filled with tissues and fuck knows what else. My back ached, but my legs, in my black combat trousers were fine. Walking over to the gun cabinets I ruffled through the boxes at the bottom, below the weapons to find manuals.
    Running back to my sleeping area I pulled my phone from the charger and began snapping photos of the pages for the SA80 and Sig Sauer, as well as for the grenades. I was always an "information-hoover" as some friends would say, and after photographing around 120 pages, I now had a complete guide on my phone of how to operate, repair and deal with any malfunctions of the 3 weapons Mark had in that unlocked cabinet.

    It was now 03:30 - I had spent 90 minutes in a crouched position photographing these pages. I decided to return to my bag and sort through my belongings when 3 shots rang out.
    Instantly my ears pricked up and I peered out the window. A cold winter breeze blasted past me and I saw movement.
    3 more shots.
    Putting my right foot through the window and struggling to get my balance, I walked topless over to where the noise came from, seeing lights concentrated on the front entrance to the barracks and 4 pale bodies, bones accentuated through their thin skin on the floor in front of the 2 entrance gates. A small puddle of blood, growing, and bone fragments glittering in the powerful lights pointed on them.
    "Mark?...MARK?" I shouted, but in vain.
    "Jay is that you?" a voice cried out, "The fuck are you doing here, a birdy told me you're taking advantage of our medical service tomorrow. Thought now you're here you can really see what we use it for"
    Who was this person? They sounded familiar.
    "Who is it?" I was blinded by the light, freezing cold and shielding my eyes.
    "It's Mike" the voice responded in the now silent frontline.
    I decided to keep on walking, looking to my left I could see the dusty white back of my van in the covered workshop.
    Climbing the ladder to the top of the gate I had once been scared of, I saw Mike there, and on the adjacent gate, was Mark talking to another Soldier.
    "F-f-fucking hell Jay this i-isn't a Navy camp. Grab a j-j-jacket you pale ass twat" he shouted as he resumed talking to a soldier who was also on detail.
    "Here you go mate", Mike said as he passed me an olive green woolen army issue jumper.
    "Cheers" I murmured as I sat in silence for a few seconds, noticing the wind even moreso as it blew across our elevated position, and the incessant itching of that damn jumper. It reminded me of my days at Cadets

    The gates were about 6ft thick reinforced concrete with a steel outer layer. The thickness allowed for a machine gun post to be on each one with a laser and IR sight to be used at night. Pointing upwards, unmanned they shone into the cloudless, cold starry night sky, going on forever - out of this desolate land.
    "So, you're getting cut open in a few hours I hear" Mike joked.
    "How do you know?" I snapped back, realising he was the one with the gun.
    "Ah, word travels fast round these parts" he said with an air of superiority and mystery
    "I'm not gonna lie, Mike, I'm shitting it. I've always been terrible with hospitals or surgery, no matter how small or trivial". I seemed to be the person in need now, while Mike reclined, dangerously hight up on his chair, making my feet tingle.
    "Want one?" he asked, pulling out a cigarette from a new pack, "I don't mind if I do - cheers man".
    As we both sat there, flint of the lighter breaking the darkness behind the blinding paved entry under the searchlights - I could see a few weeds growing through some cracks, really hitting home that this is a different world now. The cigarette smoke rose into the sky, blowing off into the distance. I always wondered where and how far it traveled. Many nights were spent at University wondering the same thing as I looked at the stars above - usually listening to some Carl Sagan. Questioning whether there was a planet out there with true peace on it. No war, no conflict, true democracy.
    What about the Students stupid enough to stay behind and try to finish their degree? Last I knew there were a couple dozen where I used to live. I was attacked a few times, probably looters in the hospital across the road and an old prison next door to it. I always wondered in the back of my mind if I were truly alone there. It sure felt like it - and I took solace in that.

    But there was no time for those thoughts.
    "You got the time, Mike?", my voice breaking the silence as Mark was now on his way over to harass me.
    "I-i-it's 03:45hrs, dickhead" Mark cried out as he climbed the ladder behind me, my head almost spinning all the way round.
    I took a long drag of the cigarette and exhaled into his face as he emerged behind me - "Prick", he murmured. His black hair reflecting the light through either lack of washing or actual styling.
    Probably the former.

    "So, b-bricking it for your big day today?" Mark asked, expecting me to cave in as he jokingly motioned for me to get out of my seat.
    Another drag, another exhale into the unknown world ahead of the gates as the wind blew from behind me.
    "Well, obviously, but having Crohn's means you don't brick it - just get the shits...and you guys better look after me" I said as Mike chuckled. His cigarette ember illuminating out the corner of my eye. Mark stood next to me, right on the edge of the gate and looked at the fresh corpses down below.
    "Our infirmary is mostly used for researching these sorry sons-of-bitches" Mike exhaled, "so we sure know how to look after our own, and we've seen a load worse in Afghan, Bosnia, Iraq and Sierra Leone - so you're in good hands" he finished, giving me a reassuring pat on the back.
    I took another drag of the toasty-tasting cigarette. The Valium kicking in made me want to talk crap but I abstained.
    In the distance were footsteps. Multiple ones. 2 troops appeared with a stretcher and piled 2 bodies onto it,their limp, already lifeless corpses forming to the shape of their new resting place for the next few minutes.
    "OFF TO THE PIT?" Mike shouted out of nowhere, catching me off guard
    "You got it!" the distant voice shouted back, "Maybe one for research if you guys didn't rip it to shreds" the other one added.
    All on guard detail chuckled.

    Another drag. Another exhale into the endless sky.

    I sat there, joined by all three others in complete silence - the other gate guard included, wondering who would break it next.
    "So what will I do when I'm healing up?" i inquired, looking to both Mark and Mike like a lost puppy.
    "W-w-well back before this sh-sh-shitstorm you were told it would take about 6 weeks" Mark murmured, looking into the distance, not breaking his gaze.
    "Yeah sounds about right for a serious procedure" Mike nodded and agreed.
    "So what wi-", I was interrupted by Mark
    "I My treat - just y-y-you wait" he squatted next to me, "Y-y-you'll see"
    Mike laughed, raising the cigarette to his lips, knowing what Mark was on about.
    I sat clueless, but just went along with it. Right now I couldn't care just as long as I was looked after.
    "Planning on sleeping tonight?" Mike asked
    "We'll see, maybe after this" I replied, my voice weary from the tiredness, but the worry kept me up. I thought to myself I have nothing to worry about though and the Valium was a nice treat without cracking into my own supplies.
    I took 3 last puffs on the cigarette and flicked it to the ground, the red ember falling, tumbling from the gate. Splintering as it hit the ground in front of us.
    The footsteps were back, the troops were here to collect the last 2 bodies and that they did. Trotting off with a heavy-duty looking stretcher.
    "Right lads, time for unconsciousness" I managed to say in a weary voice - "may as well get some shut eye". Patting Mike on the back and thanking him, I found out he was on guard duty every Tuesday so said I'd come keep him company for a bit. It reminded me of the endless nights I spent with Security at University, but with more guns and less heating.
    "D-don't w-w-wank in my office" Mark sarcastically added, "I'll just add to your tissue collection" I retorted with, Mike chuckling as he flicked his cigarette butt also into the distance, landing in the floodlight, near the pools of blood left by the small massacre which happened no more than 20 minutes before.

    I descended the ladder, keeping the itchy woolen jumper on, and slowly walked back to Mark's office, spitting as I went to rid my mouth of the taste of tobacco. Walking through the mess hall was a blur but finding the doors to my new home was second nature.
    As soon as I hit the floor, I was tired. Setting my phone to 05:45 I had around 3 hours and 15 minutes to get some sleep.

    It was no problem.

    The familiar sound of reggae awoke me those hours later. Rushing to turn off my phone alarm - another use for something which was not a phone, before Mark awoke, I inhaled deeply, popped another Valium and sat upright to grab the bottle of water next to my sleeping bag.
    Down it went. In 15 minutes I'd be in the capable hands of Andy...and whoever else was on his team.
    I changed into some baggy DPM camo trousers as they were comfy, and would be moreso after the surgery and a baggy t-shirt from my bag. The army-issue boots went on with some army-issuesocks, once again woolen and itchy.
    Staring longingly out the window at the same stars I had viewed only hours before, I put my iPod in my pocket, took my book - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a classic favourite of mine, and headed towards the door - making sure to twist the handle slowly so as to not disturb Mark from his sleep.

    I turned round into the room. Looking around at the moonlit desk to my right I picked up a pen and paper, writing Mark a quick note.

    "05:50 - Hey dipshit, I'm off for my surgery now. Years overdue and you've seen me struggle with this crap, be it drugs, pain, missed opportunities and agony long enough, hence why I grabbed this opportunity with both hands (like I have to do when jerking off).
    I'll see you on the other side assuming all goes well.

    Take care, and I expect a nice gift afterwards! You know i could really help you lads out if you need to once I'm healed.

    Allah Ackbar (ha, jokes)

    Yours
    - Jay"

    I turned back round to the door - the coridoor light beaming through the opening, pulled the door whilst tried to avoid being dazzled and clip-clopped down the lonely coridoor, my footsteps echoing. It was strange to see this place deserted.
    Reaching the main door, I passed through the giant mess hall - deserted and pitch black to save energy I suppose, and was then greeted by the blast of cold, early morning breeze, blowing my fears away.
    Inhaling sharply I turned left and walked straight to the infirmary. Following the signs and the odd drip of blood which was visible from the odd lamp-post I went through the doors and saw Andy standing there. The receptionist - a different one this time but dressed exactly the same, kept looking at her log books. Tappig her pencil on the table.
    I tried to hide my anxiety.

    "Right - ready?" Andy asked, sounding rather excited.

    The tapping was growing louder - in my head at least

    "Well, as ready as I can be" I nervously responded, knowing I need a decent bill of health if I were survive in the wasteland.
    Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip...the pencil grew incessantly louder, driving me to follow Andy - "Good! This way"

    Reluctantly following him, in his infinite wisdom I passed rooms with frosted glass windows. 'Research room 1-A', 'Staff Sergeant Hanover', Sterilisation room'. The blur of signs along the relatively short coridoor caught my eye as I tried my best not to run. These guys were doing this out of the kindness of their own hearts and easily the best knowledge within miles maybe.
    "Ok, right here" Andy said as we went into a room titled 'Theatre', the doors swung both ways as we both walked through. I was passed a gown and asked to change behind a curtain. I heard multiple voices and after what seemed like forever, leaving my clothes and boots behind the curtain, I emerged, looking around.
    The tiled walls - white and olive green. Pure white ceiling. Pure chrome instruments and multicoloured tanks.
    "I'd prefer to go under with the help of gas - I have a real thing about needles" I said as my voice shook, looking at Andy as if my life was now already in his hands.
    "No worries he replied with a smile as I got onto the surgery table - the other 2 members of his team stood on my right, and he on my left.
    Passing me a mask, he told me to hold it onto my face, covering my nose and mouth tightly, and I'd be under within seconds.
    "Oh, what's the average recovery time?" I inquired, pulling the mask away, half for a question, half out of nervousness to delay the inevitable - probably the most obvious question of all.
    "About 6 weeks", he said as he helped hold the rubbery mask onto my face, covering my nose and mouth.
    Inhaling, exhaling. Inhaling, exhaling. Feeling the rubbery table under my calves, buttocks and back. My sweat making it smooth and a bit more bearable. I tried not to think og any corpses of those undead that may have lay here over the past few months.
    Before I knew it, the gas tasted sweet - I inhaled deeply, and the other 2 medical staff moved into position as my eyes closed - and my life was now in Andy's and their hands.

    I quickly prayed there would be no invasion, bombing or whatever other stupid excuse for my premature death to happen during my surgery. I thought of Mark, Mike - even my family if they were still around. All the years of discomfort.
    But my thoughts were interrupted.
    I kept staring at the ceiling. Avoiding any eye contact.

    My whole body felt numb, and my eyelids heavy.

    I was gone.
    My life was now in their hands.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited September 2012
    Chapter 30.

    I awoke almost immediately, it felt, and a searing pain was ripping through my abdomen. I could see dressings and I was hooked up to a morphine pump and other fluids. The regular but slow bleep of heart monitors and whatever else was necessary. Surrounded by olive green curtains and on a sturdy white metal-framed bed I felt safe - but still was questioning the success of the surgery.

    But I was alive, and now I could get on with my life. It would take a while to recover but hey - it would give me a fighting chance.
    Tired, nauseous and worried. Andy came over with a nurse who clutched a clipboard through the curtains. Both had a smile on their face and the morning sun shone through.
    "W-what's the time?" I asked him
    "9am, Son. You were out for a while but it's a success. You made it!" he managed to say through his beaming smile, adding "if you need any pain relief, I have spoken to Mark. He says he's known you for the best part of 9 years, just give us a shout. We get restocked. That morphine pump will give you about 100 doses, just lie back. This is the most peace you will get in this new world - but you're also the best hope we have of helping us out - someone will come check on you in a while and explain in more detail what the situation is, but for now get some sleep. We took out a twist and the most inflamed, scarred part of your gut", he pulled a mock salute and I chuckled but damn it hurt.

    I lapsed back into unconsciousness, listening to the beeps of the machines attached to me.

    Waking up what felt like days later, it was 12pm and Mark was by my side
    "Thought I'd t-t-take a while out o-of my d-d-day to see how our m-m-medical whore was doing" he joked as he sat in a chair looking at my meds.
    "Look Jay I kn-kn-know of your drug issues, but this is a turning p-p-point in your life. Right now you need all the dr-drugs you can get, so how do you feel? Did they g-give you a d-d-dick extension?"
    Trying not to laugh as it hurt, I called for a Doctor, as I needed pain relief.
    Mark explained that there was a Morphine pump for me, and we soon began discussing the rarity of medical facilities in this new wasteland of a world. I say world as Mark could tell me Military reports from across Nations. Some better than others.

    I could hear moans and the odd scream coming from the room I was in, but being behind a curtain meant that I couldn't see where it, or who it, was coming from. It could be a human, an undead. Who knew.
    Mark got up and poked his head out of the curtains, and in came Andy.

    "Well as you're still alive - it was a success. Very simple procedure. The healing time is between 6 to 8 weeks and feel free to stay here" he said, stretching out his arm
    "Oh god, really?" Mark sarcastically sighed
    "Well done" I whispered, looking into his eyes - "no stutters that time", I winked
    "I'm sure Mark will keep you busy" Andy said as he left. "Oh and if you need anything, give us a shout. There is a bedpan under the bed so Mark can help you take a piss", and with a smile, Andy disappeared behind the curtain and went on to talk to somebody else in the distance.

    I reclined back into bed, easily falling asleep. I dreamt of an oasis in the desert. One that made e fighting fit.
    Maybe it was a metaphor for where I was right now.

    The next few days were spent getting used to walking again, improving and sleeping. A lot.
    The next few weeks were spent slowly recovering and eating. Taking a dump was a weird thing now and so starts the lessening of the opiates. Also during my time I was able to train with firearms, both rifles and pistols as well as a grenade or two. Pulling my operation site throwing that sucker wasn't fun though. Matter of life or death right there.

    In total I had spent 2 months on the barracks now. Almost fearless and forgetful of the outside world. I was getting used to the supply drop-offs which came from the City I left as there was a train line to the port Cities, Towns that had fallen into chaos and even London. Time was now spent getting drunk with the troops and generally helping out with gentle exercises to earn my time on the range. The long times in bed allowed for me to read up on my survival skills.
    I felt reinvented, reworked and ready to kick the world into shape.

    Whatever shape it was currently in, that is.

    It was now January. The weather was cold but my heart was blazing. The constant smile on my face just made me not care anymore. It was soon gonna be time to get back on the road.

    I just had a few things to clear up first.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited December 2012
    I have managed to reach part 2 of the story and will soon post updates.
    Without realising it, part 1 - what you see is half of it, was a practice run. Character development, getting used to writing and imagery etc.
    Part 2 has more action, less repetition etc. After I take out any potential names/locations that come close to home I'll post :)

    Also the weird thing? I began writing this 3 or so years ago and said the outbreak was caused by drugs that were "legal highs"...and this year? Well, the fucked up link between my story and the Miami Cannibal guy who had "bath salts" and tore off a dudes face.
    Strange, that.
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