What the Old Man Did 15

May 1, 2012

Two weeks in this building and I was starting to get stir crazy again. Also, something was bothering me. Where did the identical zombies come from? Why two of that? Both equally ugly and equally weird. Aside from that upfront puzzle, there was something else. Something I couldn’t quite put together in my head.

Toni was feeling fine it seemed. Any man would have been happy to be in my spot. She was still as direct as ever. We had fixed the broken window on the first floor and found the roof entrance. Spotting from the roof everything looked pretty much dead. The weather was remarkably warm for late September. Anyway, it was time to make a food and water run. This was always tricky, right from that one in St. Louis. I was determined this time to get ahold of something more substantial than ancient potato flakes. I started to get up from the makeshift bed on the 4th floor, but she stopped me and pulled me back and kissed me. Lots of enthusiasm. Half an hour later I was dressed and ready while she lay in bed. I  announced,

“I’m heading for the grocery store we spotted from the roof south of here.”

She got a look on her face that didn’t match the way she spoke.

“I think I’m staying here for this one.”

I nodded, somewhat puzzled. She usually didn’t let me out of her sight. At least that was true before last week. Both she and I had made lone ventures for short periods over the last seven days. I figured that was just the fact of her getting used to me or something. I went downstairs, still slowly, not like her. She bounded down steps skipping two at a time. It usually made me laugh, but now I realized it was part of what was bothering me. Oh well, I shrugged. Concentrate.

Since we had power, I cycled the exterior door after checking for unwanted folks (we had boarded up the broken window near the entrance). Cycling the door shut, I went around the building to the left, stopping at the corner and checking. Nothing. I headed out.

Twenty minutes later I was standing in front of a Publix. A few windows were broken, but it appeared that at least some of the shelving had items on them. We could use practically anything. Especially toilet paper, and maybe another toilet. Our first chemical job was long used up and we were on a second larger model we recovered from a sporting goods store. We also found ammo there.

Quietly as possible, I pried against the sliding doors. They were locked. I started to circle around behind the store when I saw them. Two zombies standing at the back corner. They weren’t looking my way and I ducked back around the corner. Through the front then.

Walking down the front facade, I came to a broken window about 4 feet off the ground. Slinging my rifle, I climbed up the frame and crawled through the opening. It was much darker inside and that always made me nervous. I waited before jumping down from the ledge. Gradually things came into focus and I was able to see the aisles. No one in sight. I jumped lightly down in my brand new Nike’s. Scouting the rows of shelves, I found toilet paper and paper towels, and a 14 cigarette lighters. I left the paper for the last thing and pursued food. There was some boxes of mac and cheese. But I left it. We’d tried that already and all ten boxes tasted nasty. Cans of corn and stew still looked good and I grabbed them, shoving them into the backpack. It was darker at the back of the store. Looking back at my escape route and the broken window I was shaken to the core. Outside the store front there appeared to be a hundred zombies, milling around and I was astonished to find that one of them had grabbed the window ledge and was trying to pull itself in. What the hell? A solar powered alarm? Then I noticed that under the eaves of the roof there were lights flashing! Then I remembered the inferno in St. Louis. The fire drew them.

The audio portion of the system must have deteriorated or been disabled and I was grateful for that. I moved to the rear of the store and found the pharmacy. Quickly scanning the shelves I found aspirin and on the inside some out-of-date antibiotics. I took them anyway. Toni had told me that the dry stuff often lasted a very long time without deteriorating too much. Glancing back at the front of the store, I saw the crowd had increased considerably. Great. The back door was on the left and I very cautiously opened it. Nobody home — and it was a storage facility. It was pretty dark, with only two small windows. More food crates back here. But for now, I wanted out as fast as I could get there. There was a rollup door and a regular steel door that must lead out side. But to the left were stairs going down. I fished around in the backpack for a small case we had picked up at the sporting goods raid. Opening it, I pulled out night-vision goggles. Rechargable, we hooked them up in our 4 story hideout. I put them on and flipped the switch. Green images came up and I moved to the steps. I moved down. Ahead was a hallway with doors off the left side and one door at the end. I moved to that one.

No sure why, but I just needed to see. Big mistake. There was a group of “sleeping” zombies in the room beyond. They woke almost immediately and moved to the door. I turned and ran for the stairs as I heard them struggle against each other, trying to exit the doorway. At the top of the stairs I took off the NV and headed for the exit. Not too soon either, as I had failed to shut the pharmacy door and some friends were trying to visit. Throwing open the rear door, I was momentarily blinded by the sunlight. I ran for the rear fence, hoping that the two lurking at the corner would not hear. They must have been drawn by the commotion at the front of the store. Getting nearer to the fence I saw several approaching me from the right. I would need to take them out without fuss. Climbing as quickly as I could I dropped down and took the rifle from my back and ran between two buildings. Not good. More coming from the west. Running north I found another fence. This one with razor wire. Not going that way. I counted those coming from the west, 12. Too many. Running west I was able to avoid all but 2. These I took down. I checked behind and saw a multitude heading my way. This was bad. They would follow unless I could trap them somehow.


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