Chapter I Part III
Fishing the wire down and popping it over his head I work it like a snare. Slowly and carefully pulling the knot tight and cinching it around his neck. Hopping over six feet to the bracket I pull him off the ladder and scurry back away from the edge deep into the loft so his feet stay off the ground. I hear a thud as his body swings and hits the wall and the wire strains tight on the bracket. With the wire wrapped around my wrist it tightens and the blood begins to swell in my fist. Stars appear in my vision from the agony in my back. Taking a deep breath I try to calm myself. Breathing in and exhaling slowly. He’s kicking sending vibrations up the wire, shock waves pound into my lower back. I know this won’t kill him. Hand over fist I work up to the bracket and pull the wire straight down to the floor. Between a 90 degree wrap over the bracket and the bend over the floor it holds. With any luck they didn’t have the stupidest guy on the crew sink the anchors for the bracket. Falling down from the strain, I know I have to compose myself and make this happen quickly because if he wiggles free I won’t get another shot.
Sliding the ladder to the other end of the loft I make short order of climbing down. The tomahawk on the other hand isn’t prying out of his skull easily. Every time I pull the handle the muscles in my back scream with agony.
Now completely pissed off, I kick the side of his temple as hard as I can sending a huge chunk of skull careening across the floor. Pulling one last time on the tomahawk, I send it flying back up towards my face. Idiot. I can see the headlines now:
Zombie Survivor Kills himself out of Stupidity.
Spinning on the wire suspending him, the Moaner dances against the wall until he turns facing me with arms reaching out. His feet are only about four inches off the floor. It was pure luck I was able to keep him off the ground. Looking into his hollow eyes I take a moment to get a feel for who this person might’ve actually been. Then I swing. A spurt of blood comes back towards my face. I turn just in time so it doesn’t enter my eyes or mouth.
Note to self: try to find a hardware store and get some dust masks and safety glasses. I don’t think I ever wore them doing home projects when I could’ve risked loosing an eye, but now it seems like a safety regulation worth following. I wonder if blood in your eye or mouth could be enough to turn you.
I should use this time to make some headway. These suburban housing developments are a blessing and a curse. You can find some good supplies but clearing the houses are a nightmare. Until they know you’re there, they’re completely silent. It’s only when they sense your presence that they begin that inscecent moaning, so often times you stumble upon them. I need to find another weapon at some point. I’d like to get to a military base and the closest one is the Point Magu Naval Air Station. That’s the direction I’m trying to head anyway. It’s on the other side of Malibu on the edge of Camarillo. I’m going to head through the Upper Las Virgenes Wildlife Preserve towards Westlake Village then cut over to Malibu. I used to trail run through there and it’s 17 miles to the next housing development. Once I get out there it should be fairly Moaner free till I get to Westlake. However, I’m not sure I can make the two miles to the edge of the preserve and find a secure spot to sleep with my back as fucked up as it is.
When I scrambled into this house and found the loft I had to make it quick so I didn’t get to scout out the house. It was a ‘one problem at a time situation.’ If the kitchen is still intact, there maybe some bottled water or something drinkable. If I can maintain a secure perimeter it would be best to spend another night here to give my back more time to heal.
Sheets of clear plastic were hung to separate the remodel from the rest of the house, there are slits cut for you to walk through but they overlap to keep the dust out. With the sun setting I can see through the plastic and make out where the kitchen is at the end of the hallway. Tomahawk at the low ready I make my way through the plastic. Smears of blood are the newest paint on these hallway walls. The last rays of sunlight illuminate the sink and kitchen table. The blood on the walls lead down the hall the other way. Someone must’ve made a last stand in this house and lost.
The kitchen cabinets are pretty empty except for a couple very good finds, there is a jar of honey, some salt, and way in the back of the upper cabinet are a couple packages of Ramen noodles. The honey is good because it has no expiration date. I don’t think I’ll open the fridge, that is a pretty disgusting proposition. How much worse than dealing with the stench of Zombies? Well lets just say I’m dealing with Zombies and I’m not opening the fridge. It’s a losing proposition anyway, most likely everything in there was perishable. Not much keeps past 24 – 48 hours after the electricity goes out and it’s been almost six months since the grid went down.
In the mudroom leading to the garage is the most important thing I need before retreating to the shelter of the loft for the night. Next to the washer and dryer is a closet housing the water heater. It’s a 50 gallon tank. Tapping on the side it sounds solid mostly all the way to the top. Most survivors aren’t tapping into these reserves. They won’t be any good for much longer, bacteria will be starting to grow and the water will go bad, until then it’s a great untapped resource. This is the upside to making your way through a suburban nightmare. At the bottom is a drain spigot, but the handle on the valve is missing. Using my multi plier to turn the valve I tactfully place my hydration bladder in a way to capture as much water as I can with a bandana working as a particle filter between the two. These spigots were designed to drain the sediment out of the tank so even though I have a filter on my hydration bladder I need to pre filter the water with the bandana to make this filter last as long as possible. There’s got to be at least 30 gallons of reserve water in this tank. I’ll drink as much as I can tonight then fill up again tomorrow morning.
Following the blood trail I find the rotting corpse on the floor in the Master bedroom. Luckily he didn’t make it to the bed and the blanket is clean. The bed wasn’t made… My wife would’ve not been pleased about that. None the less I’ll take it back to the loft for the night. This is a routine for me. Kitchen first, find food and water, look for weapons and ammo in bedroom, then look for medical kit in bathrooms. People are pretty much all the same. The medicine cabinet hidden behind the mirror reveals some trinkets worth taking. Prescription meds, salvation: Skelaxin, a muscle relaxer. Hydrocodone, a pain med almost the same as Vicodin. What’s this one? Diclofenac? “Take for pain and to reduce inflammation.” That one sounds good. The guy lying on the floor had it stocked up pretty well. Under the cabinets are some vitals too, the first aid kit. It’s like shopping. Most people are stocked up on stuff like gauze, band aids, triple antibiotic ointment, so on so forth. Nothing great, but good enough.
Okay, now for the important stuff. Jack Daniels. Kneeling next to this corpse lying on his stomach, he’s lucky he made it this far with his throat ripped out the way it was. His leg was chewed away down to the bone from his knee to his ankle. They usually eat the meat while it’s fresh then abandon the body when it gets cold. He looks like he was a guy who knew his way around a toolbox, I’m guessing he drank beer and some kind of bourbon. It wasn’t in the kitchen so he must’ve kept it somewhere. With the renovation going on he probably moved it out of the construction zone to a more secure room so the worker bees wouldn’t take it. I still haven’t figured out why it is that some people get killed by the Moaners and just die, while others survive in a Zombie state and begin to seek out human flesh.