"Walking Dead" D20 Modern 2012-03-17 CaesarCon
by, 03-26-2012 at 04:51 PM (48002 Views)
Thursday, March 22, 2012
(After playing the D20 Modern scenario “The Walking Dead” Saturday morning at CaesarCon with Steve Walkup (GM), Scott Wakefield, Angie Walkup, DJ Stevenson, Rick Snyder, and Neal Gribble from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
My name is Milton McGuire, but most folks know me more for my stand up comedy under the name of Shaggy McGuire. I was not great at the craft but I made a decent living. I had always hoped for a television or movie deal, or even an audition for Saturday Night Live, but never got that far. At least I hadn’t gotten that far before the end of the world. I did have one HBO special in 2008 but nothing had come of it.
Sometime in the spring of 2012, and I can’t even remember exactly when at this point, everything fell apart. Zombies appeared all over the country and started attacking people. Civilization collapsed, just like in all of the movies and television shows. It was the end of the world as we knew.
And I felt fine.
Okay – not really.
But, a couple of months after it all went down, I hooked up with a small group of survivors and we had managed to get a convoy together. I had found a 1968 Volkswagen Microbus in mint condition in a mansion in Kentucky. It was lime green with flowers painted on the sides in true 1960s fashion. In the same abandoned place had also been a huge store of formerly illegal drugs and supplies, as well as hundreds of Playboy magazines. I had fled with everything I could carry and found the others only a short time later. I had kept the garbage bag full of pot and the shoebox of rolling paper. I had also raided a police station in southern Ohio and gotten a Glock 77, a Beretta 12-guage shotgun, and even a concealable vest that I wore over my green t-shirt. I also kept a tire iron close.
Riding in the microbus with me was Joey Lawrence, who had told me he was a pawn shop owner. He also had a shotgun and a pistol.
We followed a girl named Maize, who told us she was a college student and pronounced her name May-zee. She was driving a 1999 Honda Civic. Riding with her was Todd Schlachter, who always told me to call him T-Bone. He was our leader and was x-military or something. He had a computer too.
Behind us on, of all things, a motorcycle with a sidecar, were Sam Jones, a factory worker, and Frank Edwards, who had been a cop before it had all hit the fan. Frank was pretty stupid but a nice guy. He wore a bicycle helmet and swimming goggles “for protection.”
We were heading towards northwest Ohio that July.
The world was in chaos. For an unknown reason, the recently dead had risen and were walking. Their sole purpose seemed to be to attack and kill all living things. We six survivors were looking for a safe haven and T-Bone had found an emergency broadcast that stated that Stony Ridge, Ohio, was that safe haven. He told us that the military had set up a base in the town and put up walls to protect the population. He had figured out where the town was and suggested we go there. It was as good a plan as any and we figured we should stick together and try to find the place.
According to T-Bone’s GPS, we were only 20 miles or so from Stony Ridge when smoke started coming out from under the hood of Maize’s Civic. Joey and I were also smoking, coincidentally, having just lit up a joint to share between us. She stopped the vehicle carefully.
“Whoa, they must have gotten some of my stash, man,” I quipped.
T-Bone was out of the vehicle before it stopped, his AK-47 in his hands. I stopped behind them and rolled down the window. Quite a bit of smoke came out of our vehicle as well, though it was much better smoke.
“Hey Milton,” T-Bone said.
“Dude, be cool!” I hissed. “Be cool, Dude!”
He had been one of the few people that appreciated my comedy before the fall.
“Hey,” he said.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“You been drinking?” he asked me.
“Where are the tools!?!” Maize yelled as she put the hood up.
“The beer’s all warm, man,” I told him. “I haven’t been drinking.”
Smoke poured out of the front of the Civic as Maize looked over the engine. Frank went to the car and looked it over while I opened the door of the microbus and got out with my shotgun. I climbed to the roof of the bus to give me a good line of sight over the whole area.
After the three talked, T-Bone looked back at us.
“Anybody gotta piss?” he said.
“No, but I’m getting hungry,” I said to him.
Then I thought I saw one of the walking dead.
“Zombie!” I screamed, pointing my shotgun that way. I looked more carefully. “Oh, no, that’s a tree, man. Never mind.”
The others pointed out a sign down the road. It read “Stony Ridge Church of our Savior.” Something was scrawled under that but I couldn’t make it out. Not far past the road was a nice-looking little white house.
It’s a trap, I thought.
“Well, there’s a sign,” Maize said. “We can go to the house, maybe. Grab our supplies. No use in taking the car.”
“What’s the sign say?” I said, squinting.
“It says survivors enter here and be safe,” T-Bone said.
“It’s a trap, man,” I replied.
They looked at me like I was crazy.
“When I was a kid, I used to play this game called Dungeons and Dragons,” I said. “That is a trap if I ever saw one, man.”
“Are you still playing?” T-Bone asked me.
I looked at him sheepishly.
“Well, we got some dice in the car,” I mumbled. “Me and Joey, sometimes we roll on the dashboard. I’ve been running a pretty kick-ass game of Hackmaster, actually.”
“These are not the droids you’re looking for,” T-Bone quipped.
“No, I’m not playing right now!”
“Are we going to sit here and fight about it or are we going to grab some supplies and go?” Maize asked.
“Well, we could all pile in the microbus and motorcycle and just drive over there,” I said.
“Shouldn’t we send somebody in to check them out first?” Joey asked.
“Like a cop,” I said.
“You volunteering?” Maize asked Joey.
“What?” Joey said.
“Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” Maize said, barely enunciating.
“What?” Joey said again.
“That’s funny, man!” I said, pointing at Maize.
“Frank! Stay here,” T-Bone said. “Watch. Zombies: kill.”
I again suggested driving.
“Everyone just stay here,” he said.
“All right,” I said.
“Why should he be the only one that’s safe?” Sam muttered. “I say we all go.”
Joey was trying to get Maize to take a hit off the joint as T-Bone headed up the road to the house. He walked around the house and then waved at us. Then he walked back to where we waited. He told us that we’d take the cars but move them so they were facing out for a quick escape.
I got the VW microbus started and eased it forward until it touched the Civic. Then I gave it a little gas and pushed the Civic up the road to the farmhouse. I could also see that there was a barn and what appeared to be a church a ways behind the house. When I got there, I made sure that the microbus was pointing back towards the road and pocketed the keys.
T-Bone told Frank to do a perimeter sweep of the back of the house. I noticed that the curtains of all the windows looked like they were pulled. There was a cemetery behind the house near the barn as well, but I couldn’t tell if the tombstones were all knocked over. I suspected they were.
“Hey, can you guys tell if the tombstones have all been tipped over?” I asked. “Do the dead come back after you bury them? Man, I have no idea what’s going on ...”
Neither Maize or T-Bone thought that the interred dead came back.
“You don’t know that, man,” Joey muttered. “You can’t be sure.”
“What if this is the first place where the dead come back after they’re buried?” I asked. “You know, we were playing D&D one time, and there was this graveyard, and ...”
Frank stopped and listened to our conversation.
“There might be some pot back there,” he said pointing towards the back of the house.
“No, don’t be messing with me, man,” I said. “Are you a cop? You gotta tell me. Wait. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
Frank and Maize went around the back of the house and returned to report that there was no back door. That seemed very strange. The house was fairly new; it couldn’t have been more than 15 years old.
“Hey T-Bone,” Sam said. “What if somebody does live here? We go busting in–”
“We’re not busting in without making somebody aware,” T-Bone said.
“Right. Because, I’m sure they’re packing just like we are.”
“Well, they heard us coming, man,” I said. “They heard us coming. My VW is not that quiet.”
“I bet the zombies are hiding, man,” Joey said.
“Do they do that?”
“I don’t know.”
The others had gone to the porch and T-Bone knocked solidly on the front door. It creaked open. It hadn’t been latched or locked. It was dark inside.
“Dude, there’s no back door?” I asked.
“There’s no back door,” Maize said.
“Who makes a house with no back door? That’s weird. Isn’t that weird, there’s no back door? That seems weird to me.”
“Cavemen,” Sam said.
“Cavemen don’t have back doors.”
“They live in caves, not houses. It doesn’t make any sense, man. Nobody builds a house without two doors. Was there a cellar door or something?”
Maize shook her head.
Frank followed T-Bone to the front door. Maize and Sam moved to the porch while Joey, still smoking the joint, and I stood out in the grass in front of the house. I was still perplexed by the lack of a back door.
“United States Marines!” I heard T-Bone yell from just inside the house. “Gunnery Sergeant Todd Schlachter, United States Marines. If there are any civilians in here, please respond.”
“Schlachter,” I whispered to Joey and giggled.
“I am entering the house!” T-Bone said, pushing the door all the way open.
I glanced to the upstairs windows but the curtains didn’t move.
T-Bone said something to Frank and then the two of them carefully entered the house as well.
“Ma’am,” I heard T-Bone call out.
Joey handed me the joint and I took a hit.
“They’re going in,” I whispered to him. “I haven’t heard gun flower yet, flowers yet, fire yet.”
I pulled a warm Mountain Dew out of my pocket. I popped it open and took a sip.
“I’m going in!” Sam yelled.
“Wasn’t that guy a factory worker?” I asked Joey as Sam headed for the door. “Didn’t he work for Honda?”
“I ... think,” Joey said uncertainly.
“We’ll ask him if he comes out of there alive,” I said. “Damn. I could go for a hotdog.”
“Nachos sound good.”
“Oh, nachos. We gotta find a Circle K.”
He looked towards the house.
“What’s taking the water so long?” he said.
A shot came from inside the house. It sounded like a handgun.
“Whoa!” I said.
Maize pumped her shotgun.
“Shut up boys,” she said.
She moved onto the porch, looking towards the door.
I looked around, just in case anything popped up from the nearby ditch or tall grass, but didn’t see any zombies.
“****! ****! ****!” I muttered under my breath. “Game over, man! Game over!”
Another shot came from the house.
“Let’s get in the bus and get out of here!” I whispered to Joey.
“Game over!” he said.
Another shot, this one louder, came from inside the house.
Joey ran to the front door and peeked in.
“What’s going on?” he called.
I followed him. I didn’t want to die out there alone. I stopped on the front porch. There was a window on the wall to the side and I stopped and looked in. Despite the boards nailed over the window on the inside of the house, I could see dead eyes looking out at me. I could hear a muted thumping against the wall.
“Zombies!” I said, my voice suddenly going high-pitched. “Zombies in there! Zombies! Zombies right there! It’s right there! Zombies!”
I aimed my gun at the window but didn’t fire. I kept squeaking as I tried to warn them.
“Damn it!” I said, my voice normal again. “I lost my buzz!”
Frank appeared at the front door. I backed away, still pointing my shotgun at the window.
“Zombies!” I said in as loud a high-pitched whisper as I could. “Zombies in the window!”
I looked at Frank.
“Somebody shoot that thing, man!” I whispered.
“I was gonna,” he replied.
Everyone but Joey headed into the house. I moved closer to the window and the thing started to hit the wall harder. I backed away again.
“Hey guys,” I said. “Hey guys! Hey guys? Hurry the **** up, ‘cause I’ve got it distracted and quick kill that God damned thing before it comes through the window!”
Moments later, I saw zombie turn and then a flash of a blade. I ran to the microbus and made sure the windows were closed and nothing was in it. While I’d been distracting the thing in the window, I’d had a terrible urge to make sure our getaway was secure. I left it unlocked as zombies couldn’t manipulate doorknobs, but made sure it was closed up. I told Joey what I’d done when I got back. Then I moved to the front door.
“Hey!” I whispered. “Hey guys! Hey guys!”
“Yes, Shaggy?” I heard T-Bone say from the dark.
“Is it clear?” I called.
“Should we come in yet?”
“You should probably stay outside just a little bit longer.”
“Just in case.”
I moved away from the door and could hear them talking within. Joey and I kept a close look out.
“Dude,” he said to me a few seconds later. “I think that cop fell.”
I shrugged and took a better grip on “Mr. Shotty,” my shotgun.
Sam appeared at the doorway after Joey took a leak on the side of the house. He told us the place was all clear and I took another look around.
“I’ll get the van,” I said.
I backed the microbus right up to the front porch.
“Man, it stinks in here,” I said upon finally entering the house. “Smells like somebody died.”
The house was fairly nice with a living room and kitchen adjoining an office and that downstairs bedroom where I’d seen the zombie through the window. There was a bathroom connected to the bedroom and a pantry that gave access to a crawlspace where there were some batteries. Upstairs were several bedrooms. A few zombies they’d finished off were laying on the floor downstairs.
I called kitchen and Joey and I started emptying canned goods out of the cupboards. There was beer in the cupboards though there was no water in the taps. I covered my mouth and nose before I opened up the refrigerator.
“We got electricity, man,” I said to Joey as the cool air hit me. “Check the light switch.”
The light worked too and Sam said he’d go check the fuse box. I took out one of the ice-cold beers and popped it open.
“Dude!” I said. “Dude! Cold beer! Cold beer!”
I sipped the ice-cold beer.
“Oh, there’s Mountain Dew too!” I said.
There was over a case of various brands of beers and the Miller Lite I’d picked wasn’t the best of it, but tasted good going down. Joey got a beer and chugged it. I offered Maize a beer or a pop. There was even some bottled water. I closed the fridge and looked in the freezer. There was some frozen meat and some other frozen food as well. I looked under the kitchen sink but the pipes there were fine. Joey and I kept pulling out canned food and putting it on the kitchen counters.
“Who knows electricity?” T-Bone asked. “Anybody?”
“A little bit,” Sam said. “Did a little maintenance.”
“Take somebody, go through the house,” T-Bone said, taking charge. “Find out if the electricity’s coming from the outside or if self-supported. If there’s a natural gas generator. Find out what’s going on.”
He turned to Frank.
“You and I are going to go out and scout the property,” T-Bone went on. “We’re going to go about 300 foot all the way around, make sure there’s no surprises in any other buildings.”
“We found beer and pop and bottled water,” I told him.
“Save one for me,” he said.
“There’s a lot,” I said. “There’s like a case.”
I spotted a couple of bottles of Guinness in the fridge as well.
“Should we keep watch upstairs?” I asked.
He suggested two of us go upstairs and look through the windows all around constantly. I nodded to Joey and we headed upstairs, going around the dead body at the foot of the steps. It didn’t smell nearly as bad up there. I found a portable radio, CD player, and hundreds of CDs. I ignored the CDs for the moment and got the radio on and scanned the channels once through to see if it picked up anything. All I heard was an emergency broadcast channel with a broadcast about safety in Stony Ridge. I turned it back off.
Maize had found a diary and read it. She later told us that the home had been owned by Tom Shepherd, a minister of some kind. I got a look at it later. It read:
May 1 – The world has fallen into chaos. A disease of unknown origin is spreading across the land. Major cities are starting to fall and God’s final judgment is finally upon us. My flock and I wait for the rapture to be near our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray that day will come soon.
Rapture has not taken us yet. We wait patiently. Margaret, my beloved wife, said God spoke to her and said we must prepare the others for the journey. We must convert the unbelievers.
The unbelievers and their wicked ways have brought this curse upon the world and we must cleanse the Earth. Only the wicked are returning from the dead.
May 15 – The conversions are not going as planned. We are helping people come to Christ, but they must be giving false proclamations to our Lord Jesus Christ because on their death, they are still returning. We must, as a congregation, work ever diligently to convert the unbelievers.
May 20 – My beloved Margaret has fallen ill. She’s complaining of tightness in her chest and I pray that God heals her.
May 21 – I write this with a heavy heart. My beloved wife of 25 years has passed to be with God. I will miss her greatly, but she is with the Lord and when he calls me home, I will be with her.
Later that evening – My wife, the purest soul on the planet, was an unbeliever. At her memorial, she rose and attacked me. Her bite was physically painful but touched me to my soul. If she was an unbeliever, who else among us is wicked? I must cleanse my congregation this very evening. Then I’ll move on to spread the word through my actions rid the world of wickedness.
She also found a Colt 1911 semi-automatic pistol as well.
Sam found a pump though it was burned out. T-Bone and Frank found a windmill near the woods on the southwest corner of the property. It was connected to a generator and was just enough to power the house a little bit. They also found a fountain in the middle of the cemetery, probably from a natural spring.
T-Bone wanted to get some water from the fountain, both for the car and for us, purifying it by boiling or putting some bleach into it. They got some buckets and headed back for the fountains with Maize. Sam went, alone, to the pump house. Joey and I kept watch from the second floor of the house.
We talked as we watched.
“This beer is good,” he said to me. “Hey, do you ... do you think that chick likes me.”
“Yeah, definitely,” I said. “Definitely. She’s got the hots for you. That’s why she glared at you that time.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“That’s how you can tell. You know how she calls you cocksucker? I think that’s a, like, term of endearment.”
At one point, I heard a gun fire outside so I ran to the back window and could see Frank, T-Bone, and Maize near a standing zombie without a head. Another zombie shambled nearby. They had probably been fighting them for some time but I felt it important to make sure they knew what was going on. I pulled open the window and leaned out.
“Hey guys, there’s zombies!” I yelled. “Look out!”
I saw Frank shoot the other one and it fell to the ground. The headless one was still just standing there.
Joey and I moved to the other windows, looking for movement from any direction. There was none. The things were drawn to noise, especially gunfire, so I was worried, but there was a good chance that the nearest zombies were miles away.
They came back to the house and called us down to talk. Sam had found a schematic showing a generator in the barn, as well as spare parts. The others returned to the house and took an inventory of everything we’d found so far. Maize said she thought we should search the barn and the chapel. T-Bone was for taking inventory of what was in the house and then getting out of the place. He pointed out that the dead were actually coming out of the ground.
“Who knows where he’s got more buried,” he said. “We don’t know anything. I want to finish inventorying the house–“
“Electricity!” I interrupted. “And water.”
Sam noted that in addition to the generators, a manifest showed that the barn had 200 gallons of gasoline, ammunition, and a plethora of other useful items that the churchies had stockpiled against the coming apocalypse. Frank guessed that there might be an old hand pump out there as well. Sam pointed out that if there was a generator, we could take it with us as the next place we stopped might not have it.
“Dude!” I said as they kept talking. “Dude!”
I said it over and over until someone finally looked at me.
“I forgot what I was going to say now ...” I said. “Oh! We should just stay here. It’s out in the middle of nowhere. We’ve got a good field of fire in every direction. There’s a killing field around the house with no trees to block us. As long as the electricity holds out, and the water, this might be a good place to hole up for a couple of weeks. We’re in the middle of nowhere; zombies should be pretty rare out there.”
“Zombies get weaker as we go too,” Frank said. “They run out of material.”
“I’m just saying,” I said. “You’re in command, general, but ...”
“Continue taking inventory in the house,” he suddenly said. “I’m going to take a 15 minute break.”
He headed for the front ground-floor bedroom with his laptop and equipment. He shut the door behind him. I got a beer out of the fridge and took it in to him, not saying anything. When he returned, he told us we were about 15 miles from Stony Ridge, Ohio, according to his GPS. He had found no communication nearby, however. He also told us that the broadcast for Stony Ridge was still the same. I asked if Maize had gotten the water for her car and she said she hadn’t.
Sam said if we were going to be there even for a little while, he was going to fix some fresh food for lunch. It was the best meal I’d had in a long time.
Maize noted that the diary didn’t say how many had survived and said there could have been 10 or there could have been 30. T-Bone guessed it was less than 30.
“By how crazy this guy sounds, it’s probably on the lesser side,” Joey said.
“That depends,” T-Bone said.
“It is Ohio, man,” I put in.
“Crazy people look like gods when the world’s going wrong,” T-Bone went on.
He was flipping a coin.
I told them I found a lot of CDs upstairs, but I hadn’t looked through them yet. T-Bone asked how far the perimeter had extended and then made plans to look through the chapel and then the barn.
“I’m only taking volunteers,” he said. “Frank and one other.”
He wanted one person to continue watching from the second floor of the house and another and keep an eye on the barn doors.
“That accounts for two,” he said, looking at Joey and me. “Three of us are going to go into the chapel.”
I noted that it would be easier if someone could get to the roof of the house and Sam said he’d try. I said if someone was on the roof itself, they could see all the way around. Sam was confident that he could get up there.
“Zombies can’t climb, man,” I noted. “So we can pull off the boards on the second floor.”
T-Bone sent me to the barn to keep an eye on the main barn doors with Joey to help me out. T-Bone, Frank, and Maize headed for the chapel. It had a bell tower and broken windows with bullet holes in them, visible even from the barn, though it was 200 yards away. The sign over the door said “Stony Ridge Church of the Savior” but it had a big reddish-brown “x” over it, as if someone had cut their hand and just smeared the blood on.
They conferred at the door and then Frank and T-Bone advanced, pushing them open. They looked into the place and Frank stepped into the doorway. T-Bone put his AK-47 to his shoulder and fired into the place. I heard another gunshot from within and guessed it was Frank.
“Guys!” I called. “Watch out for zombies in there!”
“Move away from the building!” T-Bone said. “Straight back!”
Maize backed away from the chapel. T-Bone fired again and backed away from the entrance.
“Don’t bring ‘em out here, man!” I shouted.
Zombies came out of the chapel, following Frank closely. However, the steps were badly strangely designed and the zombies fell down them. One looked like he had something in his hands.
“Bet that’s that preacher-guy, man!” I said to Joey. “Bet that’s that preacher-guy!”
I squinted but could see no better.
“Is that a sandwich in his hands?” I asked. “That looks like a sandwich. Man, I’m hungry again.”
One of the zombies’ heads burst and it fell. A moment later, the crack of a rifle came from the house. I looked at my shotgun.
“Was that me?” I asked.
Maize fired at one of the things and it didn’t get back up. T-Bone was yelling something I couldn’t make out. Then he shot the last of the things, gunning it down.
“Whew,” I said. “That was close.”
They headed into the building and after a short while, they came out, waving their arms. They returned to us and T-Bone took them for a walk around the property, leaving us to watch the barn while they checked the perimeter to make sure there weren’t any more creeping up on us in the grass. I looked at my shotgun.
They walked back over to the house first, going around it. Then they walked back to the barn. It looked like it was an old dairy barn and had whitewashed siding and large doors in the front. Another door was on one side and the door to the hayloft slowly banged in the wind. It had a steel roof with rust starting to show through. T-Bone looked over at the house and waved. I saw Sam, still on the roof, wave back. Then T-Bone turned to us.
“We’ve got you guys for close range,” he said. “Your job is not to come and save anybody, just early warning. If you see something, let us know.”
He turned to Maize and Frank.
“I guess the three of us will go in,” he said, asking each of them if they were up for a volunteer job.
“Why don’t you go in the side door, man?” I said.
“I want to secure the side door and open the front,” T-Bone said. “Because we’ve got coverage from him.”
He pointed over his shoulder at the house.
“But if you open the front door and there are a lot of zombies, they might mob you,” I said.
I had also noticed that there was a bar on the side door on the outside.
We walked around the barn quietly but heard nothing. When we got to the front, Frank recommended creating a diversion, by banging on the back side of the barn.
“Frank, I knew there was a reason we kept you around,” T-Bond quipped.
“Knock?” I asked.
“We’re not going to knock until we’re sure of what we’re going to do.”
“I like the plan. Who’s the least baked of you two?”
I looked at Joey.
“Who’s the sharpest?” T-Bone said.
We played rock/paper/scissors for it, not very successfully. We tied with paper the first time. Then, I won.
“I guess I’m the least baked,” I told the man.
“Yeah!” Joey said. “That’s it!”
“You’re the least baked,” T-Bone said to me. “You’re going to be the bait on this side of the barn. You’re the one who’s just going to bring ‘em that way.”
“I going to bring ‘em that way,” I said, heading for the side door. “Yoo-hoo, zombies! Yoo-hoo Zombies!”
“I want you to be on this corner,” T-Bone told Joey.
“When do you want me to start?” I asked. Then I whispered it. “When do you want me to start?”
“I think you did,” he replied.
I shrugged my shoulders and went to the door, tapping on it with the stock of my shotgun.
“Oh, my flesh is so succulent and tasty to zombies,” I said without any real passion. “I hope there are none around here.”
“Help! Help!” a voice shrieked from the inside of the barn. “I’m stuck in here!”
It shocked me quite badly.
“Oh my God, they’re all around me!” the voice said.
I looked at Joey. There was white all around his eyes.
“Zombies aren’t supposed to talk!” he said.
“They’re talking!” I yelled. “They’re talking! I’m freaking out!”
The screams continued.
“Frank, we’re going in!” I heard T-Bone shout.
“Are you okay?” I said to the door carefully.
“Start pounding on the wall!” T-Bone called.
“Should I just shoot through the wall, man?” I asked.
“I do not want you shooting anything!” he called.
I started banging on the wall next to the door.
“We’re coming to help you!” I called. “And I’m banging on the wall!”
There was banging on the wall and then on the door. The bar started to bend as the door rattled in the frame.
“Oh! The door’s moving!” I called out, moving away from it. “This is not my job, man. This is not my job, man. Hello?”
“Oh my God!” the voice from within yelled. “Help me!”
“If you’re a zombie, then ... we’re not helping you!” I called back.
I backed up about 30 feet from the door, aiming my shotgun at it.
“Shaggy!” I heard T-Bone yell. “Duck!”
I dropped to one knee and hoped it was low enough.
I heard his AK-47 go off. Then I heard a shotgun blast. Then the door on the side of the barn burst open and three zombies lumbered out.
“Oh shit!” I yelled.
They headed right for me and I fired my shotgun, aiming too high and blowing a hole in the side of the barn. I screamed as the creature rushed me.
“They’re on me!” I screamed. “General! You failed me!”
Joey fired his handgun at the zombies but missed them too. One of them turned towards him and rushed him.
There was more shooting from inside the barn.
“He’s trying to kiss me, man!” Joey yelled. “This ain’t cool! This ain’t cool!”
“Don’t touch me!” I screamed as three of them came at me and I tried to hold them off with the shotgun. “Don’t touch me.”
One of them bit me, but bit into my shoulder and only met the resistance of the concealable vest I wore over my t-shirt. If it had not been for that, I would have been bit. Instead, I turned and ran like a little *****, fleeing for my life. I was able to look over my shoulder to see one of them grab Joey and bit him in the shoulder.
“No!” I screamed.
“You mother****er piece of shit!” I heard Joey yell.
There was a gunshot and I looked back again to see him shoot the zombie in the head. The thing didn’t go down though.
“Run!” Joey yelled. “I’m gone! I’ll keep ‘em distracted!”
The thing continued to tear into him. He screamed and fired again, then moved away from the horrible thing.
More shooting came from within the barn. The head of one of the zombies still following me suddenly exploded. A moment later, I heard a gunshot from the house. Sam had taken one out.
I headed back towards Joey, though I didn’t get too close to the zombie. He fired into the thing again and it finally fell.
More gunfire came from within the barn. Moments later, Frank appeared by the side of the barn. The last zombie was killed and I ran to Joey, practically crying.
“I’m bleeding here, man!” he muttered.
There was a lot of blood.
“Doctor!” I shouted. “We need a doctor! Maybe the marijuana will protect him!”
I knew that zombie bites sometimes got infected and those who were bitten often became zombies. I wasn’t sure it happened every time, though.
“I’m getting all woozy, here, man!” he said.
Maize ran out of the barn and started to help him but she was doing it all wrong.
“You can’t tourniquet a man’s throat!” I said, pushing her out of the way.
I managed to stop the bleeding but Joey was looking really bad.
“Quick, tie his hands!” I said. “Tie his hands!”
I was still unsure if he would turn into a zombie.
T-Bone headed for the house while the cries for help continued from the barn.
“Let me pull your teeth out in case you turn into a zombie, okay?” I said to Joey.
The shouting was becoming more and more insistent.
“Okay, we’re coming, man!” I called.
I waved at Sam to come from the house.
The barn stunk inside and it was an abattoir. There were crosses hanging high on the walls, all of them holding a crucified person. The man who was shouting was in the middle against the far wall with a couple of zombies crucified not far from him. Instruments of torture lay around the barn. It must have been how the preacher was going to purify his flock.
Maize and I got Joey into the place and leaned him against the wall near the main doors. It looked like someone had beaten her about the head and shoulders. She sat down next to Joey.
“I’m Sergeant Oscar Goldman!” the man in camouflage on the cross said. “I’ve not been bit!”
Frank went over and lowered his cross down with the ropes tied to it.
“Oh my God, thank you,” the soldier gasped. “Thank you. I’m with the 7th Air Cav. Our helicopter crashed a couple days ago. Get me off this thing!”
Joey’s face looked red and he was sweating as if he was feverish. I reloaded the shotgun shell I’d fired. I went to Joey, lit up a joint, and put it carefully in his mouth. Then I moved away from him.
“Are you feverish?” I asked.
“I don’t feel so hot right now,” she said. “I’m okay. I’m okay.”
“Please, please,” Sgt. Goldman said again. “I’m part of the 7th Air Cav. Our helicopter crashed.”
“How long have you been up there?” Frank asked.
“I don’t know,” Sgt. Goldman said. “They’ve been dead for at least three days. They all came in one night, sat in a circle, drank something, it looked like beer, then they just passed out in that circle, and then they just died.”
Sam arrived and I told him that Joey had gotten bit.
“Just drinking beer?” Frank said.
“They sat in a circle and drank some beer,” he said.
“Did you drink it?”
“No. They were trying to convert me. I’m Jewish.”
I looked around for a crowbar and finally found one, then used it and a piece of two by four to lever the spikes out of the man’s hands.
“They tortured me for days,” he said.
“How do you feel after all that beer you guys drank?” Frank asked me.
“I only had one!” I said. “And that was like an hour ago. What did he say about the beer?”
“The beer was poisoned. They drank poisoned beer, his whole crew did, and they were turned into zombies. How many of you guys had beer?”
“I had a beer. So did the general.”
“And Joey,” Sam said.
“Wouldn’t that be great for somebody who’s trying to trap sinners with beer?” Frank said.
“Dick,” I said of the preacher.
I felt all right and told the others that I did. I wondered if there were some pills involved.
The sergeant went on, telling us that they would bring people in, torture them to death, and convert them to Christians.
“They said it was the unbelievers’ fault,” he said. “They’re psycho! Psycho!”
He showed us a little Star of David that he wore around his neck.
“They told me if I took it off, they’d end my suffering,” he said. “I told them I wouldn’t take it off.”
Joey was looking worse.
I questioned Sgt. Goldman about the beer and he was unsure if it was poisoned, just that the people had all sat in a circle drinking beer, had all passed out, and then woke up an hour later as zombies. I noted that it had been more than an hour since I’d drank the beer.
He asked for water and I lit a joint and handed it to him.
“Ain’t nobody here to arrest me,” he said.
“Watch this guy,” Frank said to me.
Frank checked on Maize and Joey. Joey had passed out and was breathing heavily. Then Frank blew his head off with his shotgun. I noticed that Joey kept breathing for a few moments after Frank had shot him in the head. Sam leapt back and Maize crawled away from the dead man. I heard the death rattle.
“Double tap!” I said. “Double tap!”
Sam drew his gun and aimed it at Frank.
“He’d been bit,” Frank said.
“Double tap!” I said again. “Double tap! Double tap!”
“Okay,” Frank said.
He blew the rest of Joey’s head off.
Frank took Sam aside and I heard him tell the man to watch Maize because she didn’t look good. Maize told him if she went bad, she didn’t want to see it coming.
“Like that guy, over there,” she said, pointing at Joey’s corpse.
“I’m uneasy with zombies up on that cross,” Sam said.
“Me too,” I said.
I found kid’s wagon and helped Sgt. Goldman into it, then moved him out of the barn. Frank and I lowered the two crucifixes with the zombies and, once they were down, we used the 1911 to blow their heads off execution-style as they were still stuck on the cross. We also found gasoline and everything else Sam had said would be there in a side room.
I asked Sgt. Goldman again how he’d gotten there.
“I was a part of the 7th Air Cav and our helicopter crashed,” he said. “We got attacked by zombies and we held them off for a couple of days. My sergeant’s been hurt.”
“How bad a crash?” I asked.
“The weapons are salvageable but I can’t carry them by myself.”
“Are you a mechanic? Can you fix the helicopter?”
“No. But there’s some survivors that can barely move. I was going to find some help and I stumbled across this church and they found out that I was Jewish and they pushed me for days. They were nice to me, though. If you were a Satanist or if you weren’t of Jehovah ... they treated me nicely compared to some of the other people.”
Sam suggested setting the barn on fire and when I noted it would draw zombies, I pointed out that there was running water and electricity.
“This is the best place we’ve found yet, ain’t it?” I asked. “I mean, we should at least stay here for a while.”
“Stony Ridge,” he said.
“It’s only 15 miles up the road. We can drive up there in half an hour. We got tons of gasoline; we can’t take it with us. We got soldiers, if we can rescue ‘em, that’s people that can help us out who are heavily armed. This could become, like, better than Stony Ridge.”
I didn’t push the issue but threw it out there and Sam eventually agreed.
We decided to make the house our own and planned to rescue the soldiers the next day. We’d scout out Stony Ridge sometime after that.