If you are new to this series here is the link to Chapter 1 Part I.
Chapter 8, Part IV
“How’s that leg?” I ask Tyler.
“It’ll be fine. You got a bad back?”
“Yeah, you could say that.” I fish the med kit out of my leg pocket and tear into it. At the bottom are the two prescription bottles. Popping off the lid of the muscle relaxers I take two following them with one of the pain pills. I wish I had some of that bourbon right now. Sinking back in the seat I listen to the tinny puttering of that VW exhaust and think of how relaxing it is to hear a mechanical sound.
Cresting the top of the Santa Monica Mountains Mack pulls over to the viewpoint, kills the engine and comes rolling to a stop. We’re right at the turn off between Mulholland and Decker Canyon. He and Tinker Bell get out folding the front seats forward allowing us to get out. A giant plume of black smoke is rising from the explosions and the vehicles burning below.
“We’re going to have to find some more fuel if we’re want to make it back to the base in one piece.” As Mack was speaking two Moaners began to lumber out of a carport from one of the houses. Tyler raises his carbine. “No, save your ammo. Use Guy’s tomahawk.” I pull the tomahawk off the attachment point on my pack handing it to Tyler.
“Would you mind doing the honors?”
Nodding “Yup, someone cover me.” Tinker Bell raises her Carbine and Tyler jogs over to the Zombies, dispatching them quickly and quietly with the tomahawk.
“First, we need to get some fuel from somewhere around here. We should check those cars in that carport to see if they have any. But there’s another problem we’re going to have to deal with.” Mack says.
“The corner of Potrero road and Decker Canyon.” I offer as Mack nods.
“What’s at Potrero Rd?” Tinker Bell asks while sorting through the remnants of her ammo and empty magazines. “I’m pretty low. Two mags left.”
“There’s a ZFC going on at that corner and coming down into the valley is going to be a tough way to try to get through there. We were able to lure them away from the intersection before but that was because we could use the fenced ranch to go through. This direction isn’t going to allow that.”
“You guys and your stupid Zombie Fight Club’s. Idiots. How big?” Tinker Bell asked.
I knew exactly what Mack was talking about, it’s a T intersection and coming up from the other side we had access to that ranch but from here it’s a road that dumps you down into the intersection and it’s really just a rocky cliff to the West with no access for a car.
“I think we’ll need to do a two stage diversion.” Using his knife Mack starts to draw in the sand on the side of the road. “Tyler has a good arm so we should give him a couple of those mini frags and let him work his way up on top of the bluff. If he tosses the grenades down on to the road from above to the West that’ll draw the pack away from the intersection. We can get the Bug down to Westlake Blvd then draw them back to the East like we did when we came through there before.” Mack said looking up to me. It had worked last time, I doubt that they would learn from their mistake so it’d probably work this time.
“Got it.” I said. What about Tyler?”
“He’ll just have to work his way down this embankment and we’ll pick him up after we pass through the second gate. He’ll be safe on the South side of the road, it’s a sheer embankment about 20’ above the ground. It should take us about five minutes to get down, lure them away and then get through the ranch. That should give him enough time to get about 1/2 mile. It’s rugged, but it’s all down hill.”
“I know the area, not well, but I know it. I should be fine.” Tyler had a little smirk. He’s young enough that he still confuses risk for excitement. “Shall we scout that carport for some fuel?”
“Yeah, we better move quickly because that fire’s going to travel up this way. With out any fire departments left it might become a full blown wild fire.” The pain killer and muscle relaxers were really kicking in and I was starting to feel pretty good. The trick now is to not push things and try to keep everything together in one piece.
Inside the car port is a pretty new Range Rover and a Porsche. It doesn’t look like the owner is really into doing their own work because there are no tools in the garage, just recreational items like skis, tennis rackets and surfboards. Tyler tore open the utility closet and found just what we needed. There are two 5 gallon ATV style fuel cans. Grabbing them he brought them over to the Range Rover.
“What do you think? Think it’s gasoline in here or two stroke?” He asked.
“If it looks dark it’s probably two stroke. Just dump it out in the yard and we’ll start fresh with fuel from the Rover.” Mack is looking through the garage for anything we could use to siphon the gas out and coming up empty.
“In the front I saw a garden hose coiled up.” I say.
“On it.” Tinker Bell turns heading for the front yard.
“Cut about six feet.” Mack yells to her, while taking his knife and prying open the fuel tank door. Tyler comes to the back with the 5 gallon fuel jugs and set them under the filler port. In short order Tinker Bell came back with the section of garden hose. Fishing the end down into the tank Mack began to suck the fuel up. Too aggressive he gets some gasoline in his mouth. In a violent eruption he coughs it up and begins choking and gasping for air.
Quickly grabbing the hose I stuff it into the jug. “You okay?”
He nods. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” He manages to get out in between gasps.
It takes about ten minutes to fill one container. Pouring one into the Bug’s fuel tank while filling the other one from the Rover. When the second one fills to the top we put the first now empty jug back under the hose but the flow is dying out, filling the can to only about 1/3. Between the fuel we got out of the U-Haul and the Range Rover we top off the Bug and have about two gallons to spare in the fuel jug. Putting the empty jug in the trunk of the Bug and the one with the two gallons in the footwell in the back seat we’re now good to go.
“We better make tracks.” The smoke from the fire’s getting bigger, with the amount of dry weather and the heat we’ve had this summer it’s going to prove to be an epic fire and there’s nothing we can do to stop it from coming over the top of the mountains and destroying all the houses. I feel like the old guy, they’re making sure I not straining myself by moving the heavy fuel cans or doing anything tough. I hope I’ve earned Tinker Bells respect, she seems like the toughest nut to crack out of all of them.
“We should first go through what ammo we have left.” Mack suggests, Tinker Bell is way low, she only has one full mag with 28 rounds left and one mag seated in her rifle.
“There’s an ammo can of 5.56 in the front.” Tyler points to the hood. “Steve thought it was better to be safe than sorry.” It’s ratchet strapped into the front against the spare tire. Quickly popping the release Tyler pulls the ammo can out as everyone dumps their empty mags on the ground.
“How much ammo do you have for that?” Mack says referring to the 1911 I have.
“One mag in the well and four full mags.” I figure it’s a last resort weapon for up close and personal contact.
Tinker Bell and Mack quickly begin jamming mags and I follow as best I can. I’m out of practice, they’re fast, almost twice as quickly as I am. I’m having a hard time even keeping track of the amount of rounds I’m getting into each mag trying not to go past 28 rounds. Within minutes they’re done. I have two mags left. Without missing a beat Tinker Bell and Tyler each grab one and begin topping them off.
Tyler looks at me. “Good to go?”
I nod. “I hope it’s gonna work.” I don’t want to sound apprehensive but coming down into the valley from this side is a daunting task.
“Yeah well there’s no such thing as a perfect plan except Murphy’s plan.” Mack said
“There ain’t no calvary to come to the rescue either so you guys better make it to the rally point or my ass is gonna be hanging out to dry, and I ain’t humping the 50 clicks back to base with a horde of zombies on my ass alone.” Tyler let his thin veneer begin to crack.
“We’ll be there. Let’s get moving. Just before the final drop into the valley we’ll let Tyler out and he can get into position. When we hear the explosions we’ll gun it.” Mack says repeating the plan. I’m along for the ride, literally and figuratively. I certainly aren’t going to balk at any tactics and with my back completely fucked again I’m just hoping they’ll carry my weight and not leave me behind.