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Max_Writer

Basic Roleplaying System: Deadworld Session Eight - Arrival at Roanoke

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Monday, December 5, 2016

(After playing the Basic Roleplaying System original setting “Deadworld” with Camilla Ekker-Runde, Ambralyn Tucker, Ben Abbott, Ashton LeBlanc, Collin Townsend, James Brown, Kyle Matheson, Hannah Gambino, and Katelyn Hogan Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.)

On July 20, 2015, Dr. Jumin Han, who called himself Dr. Daddy, Lisa Weiss, and Alexa Suarez were all kidnapped by a couple of men over the course of the day. The three were all snatched up and driven somewhere and placed into a room with the windows boarded shut. There were three simple beds in the room and a couch but little else. The room had a connecting bathroom though the mirror had been removed and the shower curtain was tied to the rod with string.

Dr. Daddy, as he preferred to be called, was a tall, slim, Korean surgeon from western North Carolina. He was 28 years old and just starting out in the medical profession but already well thought-of. He was quite wealthy, which explained why he had been kidnapped.

Lisa Weiss was a pretty young redhead of about 20 who was a writer. She was a little over five and a half feet tall and very slim. She had numerous tattoos on her arms. She also spoke in a British accent. Though her family wasn’t wealthy, they were distantly related to some rather rich Weiss.

Alexa Suarez was tall and slim. She was Hispanic with dark, black hair. Secretly, she was a spy, which she figured accounted for her own kidnapping.

The two women and the man all found themselves without their phones and other possessions, including the pistols both Miss Suarez and Dr. Daddy had been carrying. They didn’t even have their wallets or I.D. The kidnappers seemed to know what they were doing as they never appeared without masks. They always entered the room together and one of them always had a gun in his hand.

As soon as the three were all conscious, they were told by the two men that so long as they didn’t try anything, they would be fine. They just wanted money from people who knew them and then they would let the three go.

“We’ve got nothing against you,” one of them said. “But if you try to mess around with us then we will hurt you.”

They were given changes of clothing and fed three times daily with bland but acceptable food. They had toiletries like soap, shampoo, and toilet paper for their use, but nothing that could be used as a weapon.

It only a couple of days after the kidnapping when they heard the two men arguing. They could hear the sound of a television or radio from somewhere else in the house but they couldn’t make out any of the words in either case.

A week went by. Then two. It seemed a lot longer than kidnappers would hold people.

One night there was a loud, vicious argument from somewhere else in the house. Then they heard a door slam and a car roar away. After that, only one of the men brought them their food, laundry, and the like. It was the same man every time. Once, he forgot to wear his mask and he looked haggard. After that, the food got worse. They only got water instead of milk or soda and the food became more like snacks instead of actually cooked and prepared meals. Another night, there was a hollow crash from somewhere else in the house that they thought sounded like a flat screen TV hitting the ground.

Also over the course of their imprisonment, Miss Weiss and Dr. Daddy hooked up. It was late at night and they thought Miss Suarez was asleep, though she wasn’t and watched the whole thing. The sex was good for both of them and provided a much-needed release. Miss Weiss initiated the encounter and Dr. Daddy didn’t seem to care one way or another.

They had been held, they thought, for almost a month when the kidnapper who’d been caring for them by himself came into the room, gun in hand. He wasn’t wearing his mask but he hadn’t been for some time. He pointed the gun at them.

“Look,” he said. “Look. You guys gotta go. You gotta get outta here. I’m-I’m gonna leave. I want you to count to 50 before you come out. If you don’t … if you don’t wait, I’m gonna shoot you! So … so just wait. Count to 50 and then … I’ll be gone and you guys are free.”

He backed out and closed the door. They didn’t hear the bolt or the lock, which they were used to.

They waited. About 20 seconds later they heard a single gunshot from somewhere else in the house. Dr. Daddy headed out the door directly after that though the other two waited another 30 seconds or so.

Dr. Daddy found a hallway with two other bedrooms, all the doors open and the rooms obviously slept in. He found a living room with a smashed big-screen television. Nearby was a radio plugged into the wall with nothing but static coming over the speaker. The kitchen was practically empty. Cupboard doors were open and when he quickly checked the refrigerator, there was nothing in it but condiments. All of the dishes were clean and put away however.

He found the kidnapper in the bathroom just off the hall. The man lay on the floor in front of the toilet. There was blood all over the sink and the medicine cabinet from where the man had blown his brains out with his pistol. He was quite dead. His cell phone lay next to him, smashed.

Miss Weiss arrived a few moments later while he was examining the body. He searched the body and found keys in the man’s pocket, along with a wallet with some cash, though no ID. He pocketed the money.

Miss Suarez, meanwhile, searched the other bedrooms and found her .45 semi-automatic pistol, a Desert Eagle semi-automatic pistol, and their wallets, purses, and possessions taken from them when they were kidnapped. Unfortunately, all their cell phones were dead as they had been sitting for weeks without a charger.

Miss Weiss picked up the bloody .45 semi-automatic pistol from the dead man’s hand and shoved it in the back of her pants. The barrel was still warm.

Dr. Daddy left the house and saw it was a small, single-story building with a propane tank beside it at the end of a long drive. There were numerous homes and houses down by the main road and he could smell the ocean. He went back into the house and looked for a land line but there wasn’t one.

Miss Weiss tried the sink and found they still had fresh water.

It was mid-morning.

“Let’s go to the ocean,” Dr. Daddy said.

“Let’s look around the house,” Miss Weiss suggested.

The obvious rental house was separated from other houses and homes in the area by a thick tree line. They could see what appeared to be a sound some ways behind the house. There was a garden hose on the side and a shed in the back with a push-mower and rakes.

They walked down the long driveway to the road. They could see more houses to the right thought the area to the left was completely overgrown with trees. A white SUV was coming down the road from the left. It looked like of beat up.

* * *

Manuela “Manny” Rodriquez was driving the somewhat torn up white SUV they were still using. She was Hispanic with long black hair in a braid, and dressed like a mechanic with a backward-turned baseball cap. Jonathan Franks was dozing in the passenger seat in the front. He was an incredibly handsome, tall man with brown, curly hair. Dr. Mikīl Wolfgang sat in the back, watching the passing terrain nervously. He had white hair and wore a white doctor’s jacket. The driver’s side window was still broken out in the vehicle since they’d been attacked by triffids, and they were still using a doughnut tire on the front passenger side. There were bits and pieces of triffid stuck in the grill, a smear of triffid ichor on the front, and the windows were all slimed with dry venom. But it was still running fairly well.

It was August 14, two days since they had visited the village of Wickwold and then been attacked by triffids before stopping at the village of Craft, where a zombie had bitten Courtney Dean, the fourth member of the group. She had disappeared the night before, not even leaving a note. Their other companion, Lindsay Mungham Fang, had left just that morning, heading inland from their camp on Wright Memorial Bridge between Point Harbor and the Outer Banks, seemingly disgusted with all of them.

The GPS was still off and on but Manny had figured out how to get to Roanoke Island, where Miss Bateman had said she was heading before they’d gotten separated. They had found their way around Elizabeth City and made their way to the Outer Banks via State Route 158. They were on South Croatan Highway in the area of Nag’s Head, having just passed Jockey Ridge State Park, when they saw people standing on the side of the road.

The slim red-headed woman wore skinny jeans and a tank top with a shirt over that, open and the sleeves pulled up. The Asian man wore long pants and a white doctor’s jacket. The other woman wore a tank top and jeans as well.

* * *

The white SUV slowed to a stop on the road next to the three, who were on the passenger side of the vehicle. It looked like it had seen better days but the engine sounded good. It looked like they’d been off-roading.

“Where are you heading?” Miss Weiss asked.

“Heading to Roanoke,” Manny said through the open passenger window.

“Roanoke … Rapids?”

“Island.”

“What happened to the car?” Miss Suarez asked.

“Yeah, what happened?” Miss Weiss asked. “What’d you guys do?”

“There were like these giant plant creatures or something,” Manny said.

“Plant creatures?”

“Yeah, they were, like, chasing us down!”

“Do you not know vhat’s been happening?” Dr. Wolfgang, the old man in the back, asked.

“No!” Dr. Daddy said.

“We’ve been enslaved and trapped for a month!” Miss Weiss said.

Dr. Daddy opened the back passenger side door and climbed in without a word. The older man with the German accent and the nice suit just looked at him.

“I’m a doctor,” Dr. Daddy said. “Or whatever you want, I can be it.”

Dr. Wolfgang’s eyebrows raised.

“Vhat?” he said.

“So, you’re a doctor too?” Dr. Daddy said. “We can be best friends.”

“That’s right,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Maybe we should get in,” Miss Weiss said, following Dr. Daddy and slipping into the far back of the car.

Manny put the car in gear and drove them through Nag’s Head. The numerous rental houses they passed all seemed empty of life. There were no other cars to be seen. Before they reached State Route 64, where Manny knew they would exit onto the large bridge that led to Roanoke Island, they spotted another man walking down the left side of the road, his back to them.

The man was tall with ginger hair and a horseshoe mustache, they saw when he turned to the sound of the car. He wore camouflage pants, a green tank top, and army boots. A camouflage jacket was tied around his waist but they could see a large knife on his belt and a pistol tucked into the back of his pants. When he turned completely towards them, they saw the M1 rifle in his hands. He took a knee and kept the rifle pointed in their direction though it was not aiming at the car.

Manny slowed the car and went to roll down the driver’s side window until she remembered it had been shattered. She stopped the car some 10 feet from the man, trying to keep the piece of metal that held the windshield in place between her and him.

“Don’t shoot!” she yelled. “Don’t shoot!”

The man pointed the gun a little more in the direction of the car.

“You civvies?” he called.

“Yeah,” she said. “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. We’re all civilians here.”

Dr. Wolfgang looked over and saw that Franks was asleep again. He guessed the man was using sleep as a defensive mechanism to cope with everything that was going on.

“Where you going?” the soldier asked.

“Are you from Fort Bragg?” Manny asked.

“God, no.”

“What’re you doing out here?”

“If I could answer that, I probably wouldn’t be here.”

“Well, we’re heading to Roanoke Island. Where are you heading?”

“Why?”

“I mean … safety in numbers, right?”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Safety from what?” Miss Suarez, in the back, asked.

“The plant creatures?” Miss Weiss said.

“There is a disease going round that is … making people … grabby,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“What do you mean?” Miss Weiss asked.

“They’re like zombies,” Manny said.

“They attack you?”

“Yes. And there’s plants that apparently attack you and, like, monkey things … I don’t know. I heard it.”

“Is this like a zombie scenario?”

“You have people in there that don’t know what’s going on?” the soldier said.

“Yeah,” Manny said. “We just picked them up.”

“We were captured for a long time,” Miss Suarez called. “Didn’t have any connection with the outside.”

“I was captured with these two,” Miss Weiss said. “I still don’t know why; what we have in common. Please explain what’s going on. Right now. Because we’ve been trapped for a month and we don’t know what’s going on.”

“Listen here, lady, I don’t like sitting in one spot for too long,” the soldier said. “So either I join you or you drive on.”

“Ah, get in!” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Who said that!?!” the soldier said.

They heard the sound of another car approaching coming from the same direction the white SUV had come. The soldier pointed down there road where a gray jeep drove towards them.

“Put your gun down,” Miss Weiss called. “You don’t know them.”

“Are you being followed?” the soldier asked Manny.

* * *

Dani Bateman, who had been traveling with Jaiqwan Jayshawn Skadooter, had found the young black athlete missing one morning. His yellow Porsche 918 Spyder was gone and a note, spray-painted on the asphalt near the building they’d taken shelter in, read simply “See you *****es at the beach. Doot-doot!” She had continued on without the man, who had found too much spray paint in a hardware store and filled the trunk of his car with all of it.

Miss Bateman was a Native American with tan skin and brown eyes. Her hair was long and pulled back into a braid. She was also very tall and built like a model.

She had stumbled across Elizabeth Tolini, one of the people she’d met at Duke University after the meteor shower, and the two of them had continued on in the latter’s jeep as it was in somewhat better shape than hers. They continued to head for Roanoke Island, where Floyd Wayne had told her he was heading. Miss Bateman was surprised at the amount of gear the other woman had: a sniper rifle, a crossbow, a black leather skin-tight outfit, and a dagger.

Miss Tolini had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes with olive skin. She looked Italian or Mediterranean.

They were driving on the Outer Banks when they spotted a white SUV ahead.

* * *

Manny looked into the review mirror and thought she recognized the jeep of the Elizabeth Tolini, who had been in the strange experiment with them at Duke University.

“Are you being followed?” the soldier asked again.

“What?” Manny said.

“Are you being followed? Shall I fire now?”

“No no no no no! That jeep looks familiar. It’s … uh … whatsherface?”

She shook Franks.

“What?” he said. “Why do you keep waking me?”

“Do you know this person?” Miss Weiss said. “Can this person help us?”

“I was asleep,” Franks said, looking at the soldier. “Where do you keep finding these people? Holy crap! I’ve been to sleep like an hour! What the hell? We haven’t see people in, like, what, two days and you suddenly find, like, five or six people. What the hell?”

“Wasn’t she in an experiment with us?” Manny said.

Franks looked at the approaching jeep.

“Which one?” he said. “Which girl?”

“The only girl besides me that escaped,” Manny said.

“Oh yeah.”

“Crossbow girl.”

“Oh. No, she had a sniper rifle.”

“She had a sniper rifle?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh.”

He remembered Manny had been unconscious with the zombie bite when they had fought off the strange creatures attacking the farm.

“She has a sniper rifle,” he said.

“What?” Manny said.

She got out of the SUV. She waved at the other car and called out. The jeep slowed down and stopped and she recognized Dani Bateman and Elizabeth Tolini. Skadooter was not with them.

“Did you finally kill him?” Manny said. “I wouldn’t blame you.”

“I’m going to miss that crack head,” Franks quipped.

Both Miss Bateman and Miss Tolini got out of the jeep.

“You know these too?” Miss Weiss asked Manny.

“Yeah, she was in an experiment with us,” Manny said, indicating Franks.

“Yeah,” Franks said.

“These are agreeable people?” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Are they safe?” Miss Weiss asked.

“I mean … as safe as …” Manny said.

“Safe as a hole in the head,” Franks said.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Miss Bateman said. “Unless you give me reason to. So, yes, I’m safe.”

“I can tell you all for a fact,” the soldier said. “The longer we sit here, the worse it could be. So, we need to get moving or y’all need to get moving. I don’t care. But we do not need to be sitting here right now.”

“Okay,” Miss Tolini said.

Miss Weiss noted she would stay with the SUV as she’d known them longer though Miss Bateman was very, very pretty.

“Get in the car,” Manny said to the soldier. “Let’s go.”

“Which car?” the soldier said.

“I don’t care! We got room in each one!”

He opened the back door of the SUV while Manny and Franks got back into the front. Dr. Daddy slipped out of the door the soldier had opened.

“Wait wait wait wait,” Miss Bateman said. “Where are we going?”

“Just follow me,” Manny called.

The soldier looked Dr. Daddy up and down.

“You some sort of doctor?” he asked.

“I can be,” Dr. Daddy said.

Oh my God, Miss Bateman thought.

“Ain’t no ‘can’ in this world,” the soldier said. “Either it is ‘do’ or ‘don’t.’ You a doctor?”

“He do a doctor?” Miss Bateman called. “He do a doctor? It’s either do or don’t?”

“Just get in the car!” Manny said. “C’mon!”

“You don’t speak good,” the soldier said to Miss Bateman.

Dr. Daddy turned from the soldier and walked to the other vehicle without a word.

“Are you going the same direction?” Miss Weiss called. “Well, **** you, Daddy.”

“I didn’t know that was your dad,” Dr. Wolfgang said to the girl.

“Let’s go,” the soldier said. “Wheels up.”

He got into the white SUV.

Dr. Daddy slipped into the back of the jeep and the two women got in as well.

“Well, I’m not okay with any of this,” Miss Suarez muttered. “But I guess it will do.”

Manny put the SUV in gear and they headed off down the road followed by the Jeep. Franks leaned back and tried to go to sleep again.

“So, do you not know what’s going on here?” Dr. Wolfgang asked the two in the back.

“No,” Miss Suarez said.

“It seems zhat … uh … a zombie outbreak has occurred,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Zombies?” Miss Weiss said. “How did this begin?”

“It seems a meteor dropped some kind of device?” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“You don’t know what’s going on?” the soldier said.

“We’ve been kidnapped for a month!” Miss Weiss said. “I’ve been trying to tell you!”

“Oh my ****ing God! You’re telling me people got kidnapped before all this shit went down?”

“Does it not happen all the time?” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“It’s just very ironic, I think,” the soldier said.

“Well, please, just tell us,” Miss Weiss said.

“****ing zombies!”

“I … I still don’t understand. What do you mean: zombies?”

“Zombies. Aliens. Plant monsters.”

“Plants and zombies?”

“It’s everything!”

“The plants are new but … yes …” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“New to you!” the soldier cried out. “I fought that shit from day one! ****ing Intel didn’t know what the **** it was. Sent us green boys out there. Lost half my God-damned squad and now I’m running to the ****ing beach! **** this!”

“It sounds like you’ve been through a lot and I’ve very sorry─” Miss Weiss said.

“Oh, I’ve been through a whole lot of shit,” the soldier said.

“Well, we don’t know what’s going on,” Miss Weiss said.

“So, it seems like a zombie outbreak and those who are bit …” Dr. Wolfgang said.

The soldier drew his semi-automatic pistol and held it up.

“Anybody in this car bit?” he said.

They all looked at each other.

“I ain’t ****ing around,” he said. “Anybody in this car bit?”

“I swear,” Miss Weiss said. “I swear.”

“By anything!” the soldier said. “I don’t give a **** what it was. Were you bit by anything?”

“No!”

“Bugs. Dogs. Humans. I don’t give a ****. Have you been bit? What about this guy? He’s sleeping a lot! This guys sleeping a lot!”

“I’ll be honest. Daddy that one time. That was just a thing.”

“Daddy bit you? Who’s daddy?”

“Just one time. I swear to God. I swear to God. It was consensual.”

“Sexual? Or worse?”

“I’d rather not go into the details but I’m not infected.”

“You better go into the details right now.”

“There are things getting out of control,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Oh, it’s about to get way out of control if somebody don’t tell me who got bit!” the soldier said.

“I swear, whatever you’re talking about, I do not have it,” Miss Weiss said. “I swear. This is the first time I’ve heard of anything like this.”

“She was bit by another man that was not infected,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Was that the guy that got out of his car and went to the other car?” the soldier asked.

“Yes!” Miss Weiss said.

“Yeah, that guy’s ****ing weird,” the soldier said, holstering his sidearm again.

He decided to keep an eye on Franks though.

* * *

In the jeep, Miss Tolini thought she saw a gun being swung around in the other car for a few moments. She wondered about that.

* * *

“I need to know everybody’s names,” the soldier said. “Give me first name. Give me last name. I don’t really care. But I need to know your names when shit goes down. So, my name is Abraham. You, creepy old dude. What’s your name?”

“I … you call me Mikīl,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“I’m gonna call you Mike,” Abraham said.

“All right,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Driver, what’s your name?” Abraham asked.

“Manny,” the woman replied.

“Manny, that’s easy,” Abraham said. “Okay, sleeping guy. I might just call you sleeping guy, but you can give me a name.”

“Just call me John,” Franks said.

“John?” Abraham said. “Is that your name?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

“No, I’m joking. I’m joking. It’s Jonathan. But just call me John.”

“I got it. Girl that may have been bit … that I will shoot any second if I find anything going crazy, what is your name?”

“My name is Lisa Weiss,” she said.

“Lisa. All right. And you?”

“Alexa,” the last woman said.

“Alexa, okay,” Abraham said. “Hold on. Wait. We gotta back this shit up. Y’all was kidnapped?”

“Yes,” Miss Weiss said.

“Y’all need to talk about that shit ‘cause that don’t make no ****ing sense. Who gets kidnapped? What’d y’all do?”

“I was taken when I was walking to my car after I’d gotten a coffee from Starbucks.”

“Who’d you piss off?”

“I’m not sure. My family isn’t that rich. I’m not sure what they would want from me.”

“So, you pissed off so many people you don’t know which pissed off person kidnapped you?”

“Eh,” Franks muttered. “Seems legit.”

“I don’t know how to explain this but we need help to get out of here,” Miss Weiss said.

“All right, hold on,” Abraham said. “There is a pattern here somewhere. Alexa, who’d you piss off?”

“There’ve been a number of people,” she replied.

“All right, so y’all piss off a lot of people,” Abraham said. “Just so happened, they wanted both y’all. All right.”

He thought a moment and realized the name Weiss might make her related to Barry Weiss of “Storage Wars,” who was supposedly quite rich. Rumor had it he had relatives in North Carolina.

“Wait a second,” he said. “What was your last name … Lisa …?”

“Weiss,” she said.

“You got money?”

“No.”

“Don’t lie to me. You got money?”

“Okay. I will admit that my extended family has quite a lot of money but … my mother married an Arab so … we’re not …”

“That was probably the worst thing you could’ve told a soldier. I ain’t gonna lie. Don’t ever tell a soldier that your step-daddy might be an Arab. Don’t ever do that.”

“So, I am related but, I swear, I’m not part of that family, so I don’t know what─”

“Alexa, you got an Arab in your family too?”

“I’m not Arab!”

“Vhat does an Arab have to do with this anomaly?” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“I’m sorry, I’m trying to play detective right now but I ain’t too good at it,” Abraham said.

“You got that right,” Franks muttered.

“Shut the **** up, John!” Abraham said.

Manny continued to follow the highway as it bore to the right and become S. Virginia Dare Trail. They passed other houses and buildings while the others talked in the back. The Jeep followed behind.

“I don’t think people are concerned with race right now,” Miss Weiss said. “People are concerned with the zombie outbreak.”

“Zombie. Plants. Aliens,” Abraham said. “I don’t know what the **** it is. I been without a squad for about five days. Shit got ****ed up.”

“Vhat happened?” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Yeah, it happened. I didn’t like it!”

“No. Vhat happened?”

“Vhat happened? I’ll tell you vhat happened. ****ing everybody around me was dying. I don’t know how to explain it. Them plant mother****ers came out. We dealt with ‘em before. But they were stronger this time.”

“Did you kill them?” Miss Weiss said.

“Way stronger,” Abraham went on. “Kill the plants? Hell, no! We didn’t kill a ****ing one of ‘em! We were firing and firing, reloaded, reloaded, called in missile strikes. Missile strikes didn’t even come in! And we all just ran. I ran. I thought people was behind me. I heard footsteps. Then I heard less footsteps. Then I heard no footsteps. Next thing I know, I’m going to the ****ing ocean. If there’s some ocean mother****ers out there, then fine! But, least it ain’t gonna be God damned plants! I seen what them plants do. I don’t want none of that.”

“Is that the ocean that we see far away? Is it that ocean?”

“That ocean? Hell, yeah, that’s that ocean! I want to get the **** outta here!”

“No, he’s going to the Pacific Ocean,” Manny quipped.

“No, I want to go to the ocean!” Abraham said. “I want to get the **** outta here!”

“Pacific Ocean?” Franks muttered. “I thought we were going to the Gulf.”

“Ve are heading to ze Roanoke?” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“We’re going to the ocean,” Miss Suarez said.

“All right,” Miss Weiss said.

“If there’s some seaweed mother****ers out there then fine!” Abraham said. “I’ll deal with that. But I ain’t dealing with whatever them ****ing bush mother****ers is. I ain’t doing that no more! Killed everybody! **** that shit. Anybody got a drink in this mother****er? Like, some liquor in here. Tell me you found some liquor.”

No one said anything.

“It’s the God damned apocalypse!” Abraham said. “You ain’t got no alcohol?”

“If this is the apocalypse, I’d like to have Twinkies,” Miss Weiss said.

Franks picked up a bottle of rum on the floor by his feet and handed it to the man.

“Oh, ***** tits!” Abraham said. “I need that.”

He took a swig of the white rum but it was very rough going down. He closed it back up and handed it back to Franks.

“Y’all got any whiskey?” he asked.

“No, I’m sorry, ve vere not looking for us to get swasted,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

Franks took a sip of the rum and put it on the floor.

They crossed a bridge to Pond Island, passing rental houses on the right. The left side, to the south, had low growth and shrubs but no buildings. Amidst the overgrowth, Manny and Dr. Wolfgang spotted more of the triffids standing not far from the highway.

“Ze plants!” Dr. Wolfgang said, remembering their last encounter with the things. “Ze plants! Dodge zhem!”

Once pointed out, the rest saw the dozen or so triffids, scattered in the bushes on the left side.

“Do. Not. Stop.” Abraham said. “Keep going!”

“Oh, I know!” Manny said.

They heard the rattle of the triffid’s clatter sticks even over the sound of the engine.

“**** that shit!” Abraham said.

“Wait, are these the plants that you were talking about?” Miss Weiss asked.

“Hell yeah,” Abraham said.

“Ve must avoid zhem!” Dr. Wolfgang said.

They left Pond Island and headed across the long bridge that, from what Manny could remember from the GPS, led to Roanoke Island.

* * *

In the second car, Miss Tolini noticed the triffids. She had never seen their like before. But she remembered hearing about them. She knew they were poisonous and very dangerous, though ones in a place like this had probably had had their stings docked, making them harmless. There was something else strange about them but she didn’t not remember what. Then they were passing onto the long bridge to Roanoke Island.

* * *

The bridge was vacant without any signs of wrecked or damaged cars at all. It was flat for a good length of the time and then rose up some way to allow the larger boats through, obviously. As they crested the spot where it was highest, they saw what looked like a roadblock made of cars about a hundred yards ahead.

“Stop!” Abraham said. “Stop the car!”

Manny braked to a stop. The other car stopped behind them.

There was no sign of any people at the spot where a half dozen cars had been parked to block the road, one of them turned on its side.

Abraham got out.

“Why are you getting out?” Manny asked.

Abraham crouched by the SUV and pointed his gun at the roadblock. He took out his binoculars and scanned the area. He saw no movement and no sign of anyone.

“Ve have to move the cars!” Dr. Wolfgang said.

Dr. Wolfgang climbed out and started to walk down towards the roadblock. When Abraham noticed the movement, he was surprised to see Dr. Wolfgang heading down the bridge towards the barricade.

“What the **** are you doing?” Abraham yelled at the man.

“I’m moving ze cars!” Dr. Wolfgang yelled back.

“Do not. Go towards. That blockade!” Abraham yelled.

“You don’t know why there’s a roadblock!” Miss Weiss called from inside the car.

“I want to find out why there’s a roadblock. Get down.”

There was a suburban area or condos huddled together to the right side of the road where the bridge met the island near the roadblock. A marina was also tucked in between the road and the houses.

“It’s probably just protection for the town,” Manny called to Abraham. “I mean, they’ll see we’re real people.”

“Ve have to move ze cars,” Dr. Wolfgang called again.

Miss Tolini climbed out of the jeep and came up to the SUV.

“We will move the cars once I know it’s safe,” Abraham yelled at the man, who had moved up about 10 yards. “Get back here. I want you to scout it while I move forward.”

“Oh … Okay,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

He walked back to the SUV as well.

“Just drive,” Miss Weiss said to Manny.

“They’re just being cautious,” the other woman replied. “It’s probably good.”

Franks got out of the car.

“Maybe there’s a reason for the roadblock,” Miss Weiss said. “Maybe we shouldn’t move the car. Maybe we should just turn around.”

Abraham turned around and saw Miss Tolini behind him. He had barely heard the woman walk up. He crouched and pointed his rifle at her for a moment, then lowered it.

“Calm down,” she said calmly.

“What are you doing out of the car?” he asked.

“I was wondering what I could do.”

“Are you a ****ing cat?”

“What kind of question is that?”

“Had a guy in my squad. Called him ‘Tippy-Toes.’ You know why? He’d always ****ing get you. Every time. Pranks? ****ing crazy.”

“Pranked?”

“And he was a great dancer. Hella-fag though.”

He looked at her.

“There’s a blockade ahead,” he said. “Did you not see it?”

“I see it,” she said.

“We’re scouting it out. Because, one thing I’ve learned, some of the worst things you can face is people right now.”

“Zhis is true,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Okay,” she said. “So …”

“I don’t know even why I trusted all y’all right now,” Abraham went on. “I shouldn’t have. But here I am, so we’re going with it. It’s almost like a GM made me into this situation.”

“A G-what?” Franks said.

“Are you coming along?” Abraham said to the woman.

“Yeah,” she said.,

“A G-what?” Franks asked again.

“Do you have a weapon?” Abraham asked the woman.

“Uh-huh,” she said.

“What is it?” he asked.

“All I have on me right now is a dagger.”

“Go get a real gun. Time is important. I don’t know how long it’s going to take for them plants to catch up to us.”

“All right. Hold on.”

She returned to the jeep and opened the back, taking out her Accuracy International AW sniper rifle and pocketing a couple of the magazines for the weapon. She walked over to the man with the gun raised onto her shoulder.

“Why … do you have this?” he asked.

“Well, you see, daddy had interests,” she said demurely.

“First of all, I’ve heard the word ‘daddy’ more than I should have this entire trip. But I’m going to let that go. New plan: you watch us with the scope of that rifle.”

He turned to Dr. Wolfgang.

“You’re coming with me,” he said to the doctor. Then he turned to Franks. “You’re with us as well, right?”

“Yeah,” Franks said.

“I saw you get out of the car. You want to do something now?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“What do you want from me?” Miss Tolini asked.

“You see anything with the scope of that rifle, I want you to whistle,” Abraham said. “Can you whistle?”

The woman whistled loudly. Abraham nodded.

“Real quick, while I talk to these three what we’re going to do, formation-wise, you tell the rest of the car what the ****’s going on, because I’m sure they’re confused as **** right now,” Abraham said. “All right. We need to all be on the same page. Military training, all right?”

“Okay,” Miss Tolini said.

Miss Weiss got of the SUV followed quickly by Manny with her pump shotgun. Abraham looked at her weapon with approval and then told everyone to squat by the car so they could plan what to do. He saw Miss Weiss had a semi-automatic pistol. Franks had a Glock and a baseball bat.

“I’m going to do my best to describe everything in civvie terminology,” Abraham said. “I know none of you have been in the military so I’m going to try not to do that. If I accidently slip up, tell me to go back and re-explain what the ****’s going on, okay?”

He looked at Miss Tolini.

“You’re going to be on overwatch, okay?” he said to her. “Overwatch the scenario. You whistle, tell us things are going up. I’m going to need somebody to watch her back because she’s looking forward the entire time. Is there anybody that can watch her back the entire time we’re on this mission?”

Miss Weiss raised her hand.

“I’m taking these two with me,” Abraham said, indicating Dr. Wolfgang and Franks. “Can you watch her?”

“Yeah,” Miss Weiss said.

“You got something? What have you got? You got a gun.”

She took out a .45 semi-automatic pistol. It looked like there was dried blood on it.

“All right, that’ll be fine,” Abraham said. “If anything goes wrong, you tell her and she can help you with whatever scenario is going on in the back. You two. What have you got? I see you’ve got a pump shotgun on you. You hiding something Alexa, what you got?”

Miss Suarez took out her own .45 semi-automatic pistol.

“I knew you was packing from the first time I saw you,” Abraham said. “Some person named Alexa definitely have a gun. Only met one other Alexa and they had a gun. Just saying that. It was in the military. Kind of shouldn’t count, but it does. Anyways, what is that? What have you got?”

“M1911,” she said.

“You want to come with us? We’re going to scout the area.”

“Information is always my game.”

“Okay. Fantastic. I think the shotgun would be good for close quarters. I would like to have you with us but since you’re the driver and you seem to know these people, I think you should back up our sniper. Just in case.”

“Aw,” Manny said.

“I think four should be good enough and I want more than one gun covering our sniper,” Abraham went on. “Does that sound good. Is everyone clear on what we’re doing? I don’t know where them other two mother****ers are.”

He looked back and saw that Miss Bateman had slipped into the driver’s seat of the other car and Dr. Daddy had gotten into the front passenger seat. They appeared to be chatting.

“If you two can convince them to help you guys out,” Abraham said to Miss Weiss and Manny, “with the guarding and stuff, be my guest. I’m not talking to anybody named Daddy.”

“Well, only one’s named Daddy,” Manny said.

“They’re both Daddy as far as I’m concerned. They’re both weird. Anyways.”

He looked at them all.

“Is everybody clear on what they’re doing?” he asked.

“How long do you want us to do this?” Miss Tolini asked.

“We’re checking the blockade,” Abraham said. “All we’re doing.”

“Okay.”

“We’re going to move the cars to make a path.”

They heard the engine of the other Jeep start. Abraham crouched and spun around, gun pointed towards the Jeep.

“What the **** is wrong with you?” Miss Bateman called from the Jeep.

“I’m trying to keep us alive,” he replied.

“I’m not doing anything!”

“You made a sound.”

“Oh! I made a sound?”

“I respect your defensiveness and your assertiveness but we don’t need this violence right now,” Miss Weiss said. “So please?”

“I’m just being cautious, you ****!” Miss Bateman said.

Miss Tolini climbed up onto the top of the SUV and lay down there, pointing her sniper rifle down towards the barricade across the road ahead. She lined up and looked through the site. Miss Weiss climbed up behind her and sat there, watching her back. Manny positioned herself by the left front tire of the SUV near the car door.

“Hey, turn off the car,” she called to Miss Bateman.

“Why?” the other woman called back.

“Because it makes noise!”

“What’s wrong with noise?”

“It attracts things.”

“****!”

Miss Bateman turned the car back off.

Abraham looked over the four men who were walking towards the blockade. He was the only one with a rifle and two other had pistols. Dr. Wolfgang was unarmed.

This was a mistake to bring you, he thought of the doctor.

They got about within 40 yards of the blockade when Abraham stopped them.

“Me and Alexa are going to post up here,” he said. “You two move the center car so we can go through. We will cover you. Got it?”

“Yes,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

Franks nodded.

“You guys can move the cars?” Abraham asked.

“I think so,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

As they headed on down, Abraham put his rifle to his shoulder and Miss Suarez aimed ahead, covering the men. When Abraham realized the pistol was out of range, he told her to go about 20 yards ahead of him. She nodded and headed up behind the other two men, stopping some 15 yards from the cars.

Dr. Wolfgang and Franks reached the barricade and saw the opening in the center was probably not quite wide enough to admit the SUV. Dr. Wolfgang headed around the right car and, as he moved around the car to get to the driver’s side door, he saw several bodies lying on the ground on the other side of the blockade. There was a great deal of dried blood around the men on the pavement. He counted a half dozen men dressed in rough clothing and still clutched sporting rifles in their dead hands. All of them lay just the other side of the blockade. He looked more closely at them and saw they appeared to all have been facing away from the blockade, towards the island.

It looked like the corpses had been shot with high-caliber rifle bullets. They appeared to have been walking away from the blockade, inland, when they were gunned down from the front, possibly from towards the marina.

Franks had not moved past the blockade but also saw the bodies. He turned and headed back towards the others.

Dr. Wolfgang opened the door of the car and put the manual transmission into neutral before taking off the parking brake. As he got back out of the car to push it, a shot rang out from somewhere nearby. The windshield of the car shattered.

“Zhey’re shooting at us!” he cried out.

A second shot rang out and a large hole appeared in the door to the car.

Further out on the bridge, Franks dived to the ground, hitting the asphalt solidly.

* * *

“What the **** was that, Elizabeth?” Miss Weiss said from atop the SUV.

“It was a gunshot, sweetie,” Manny said, moving back to get cover behind the SUV.

Miss Tolini didn’t answer. She was scanning first the barricade and then the marina. As she focused on the marina, she saw the shooter. A man was laying on the deck of a boat anchored in the middle of the marina. It was a small hard-topped boat between 20 and 25 feet long with twin engines. The man wore all white or had a sheet draped over him and was lying in the white bottom of the boat, effectively camouflaged. She could see the rifle in his hands and guessed he had a scope upon it. He was working the action on the bolt-action rifle as she looked.

“Go to the army guy,” Miss Tolini said to Manny. “Ask him if I should take him out. There’s a guy on a boat.”

“Elizabeth, can you see where that’s coming from?” Miss Weiss asked.

“Yes, I do.”

* * *

Abraham and Alexi peered over the wall that ran along the north side of the bridge. It was not much cover, being only a couple of feet high with a further metal rail running along the top of it to the height of about three and a half feet, but it was something. Both of them saw the man in the boat in the marina, but they were still over a hundred yards away.

Dr. Wolfgang crawled around to their side of the barricade and in their direction. Franks lay on the bridge between them and the barricade. Manny was crouch-running their direction from their cars.

Abraham crouch-ran down the bridge to the barricade. He looked back towards Miss Tolini.

“Take him out!” he yelled. “Boat!”

* * *

Miss Tolini saw the sniper, who obviously also heard the shout, start to aim towards the cars. The blast when she fired was the loudest thing Miss Weiss had ever heard in her life. Unfortunately the bullet missed, punching a hole in the deck of the boat near the man.

In the other car, both Miss Bateman and Dr. Daddy were startled by the sound of the report.

“Elizabeth, what the ****!?!” Miss Weiss cried out. “I’m right beside you! Can you warn me next time?”

Miss Tolini didn’t really hear her over the ringing in her ears. She worked the action on the sniper rifle as quickly as she could and tried to bring it back onto the target. She got it in time to see the shooter aiming right at her.

She rolled off the SUV away from the shooter, trying to dodge, but the bullet struck her in the right wrist and blood spewed out of the terrible wound. She crashed to the asphalt and lay still. Miss Weiss pulled off her shirt, revealing her tank top and tattoos. She slid off the SUV and tried to tend to the woman.

“Dr. Daddy!” she cried out. “Help me!”

In the Jeep, Miss Bateman saw everything happen. She turned to look at Dr. Daddy and saw the man was looking out of window of the car, apparently daydreaming. She started the Jeep.

“Dr. Daddy, you need to help them!” she said.

The man left the Jeep, running to try to help the girl. He saw that Miss Weiss had not done a very good job of binding the wound so he pushed her aside, took off the dressing, and bound the wound himself. The woman was unconscious but she was at least stable.

* * *

Abraham heard an engine start somewhere back up by their cars. Franks got up when he passed the man and followed him, pistol in hand. They saw Dr. Wolfgang get up and crouch-run back towards the cars. Miss Suarez was close behind Abraham. They got to the barricade. Manny arrived a short time later.

“Cover my east,” he to Miss Suarez. Then to Franks: “Cover my west.”

Miss Suarez realized the man was facing kind of northeast. She and Franks watched to either side of him as he stood up and started aiming with his rifle.

Abraham saw the shooter laying on the boat deck. He shot the man, hitting him in the left arm and saw blood splash across the deck of the boat. The man didn’t move so he shot him again, the second bullet striking him in the head. There was more blood and he didn’t see the man move at all.

“No movement,” he said to the others after he ducked back down.

* * *

When Dr. Wolfgang got back to the others, he found Miss Tolini on the asphalt. He checked the injury and found Dr. Daddy had done a good job of tending to her wound. Miss Weiss moved away from them and crouched down near the corner of the car, trying to see better.

* * *

Abraham got binoculars out and scanned the boat. The man had not moved. He also scanned the shore. There were numerous condos, apartment, and homes. It looked like a subdivision of some sort. He saw no movement.

“Alexa,” he said. “Cover me with the M4. I’m going to make sure I confirm the kill.”

“I’m not … um … okay,” Miss Suarez said, taking the rifle from the man.

“Just do your best,” Abraham said.

He looked again and scanned the boat once more. The man in it was not moving and the puddle of blood was getting wider and wider. He watched for 30 seconds. There was absolutely no movement.

“Done,” he finally said. “Gimme the M4. He’s out.”

He stood up fully and started to walk back to the cars.

“We got him,” he said. “Confirmed kill boys. Let’s go home.”

“But wait, was he the only one?” Franks asked.

“I hope,” Abraham said. “I don’t know, John. I really don’t. But we’re gonna go.”

Then he looked back at the barricade.

“Sorry,” he said. “Boys, let’s move these cars.”

They went back to the barricade. Manny looked the cars over but most of them had flat tires and the gas tanks were punctured. Abraham had Franks and Alexa move the vehicles enough for them to get through while he covered them with the M4. Then they returned to their own cars.

“Oh my God, what the **** happened?” Abraham asked when he saw Miss Tolini.

“She got shot in the arm,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Shot in the arm? How bad is it?”

“She’s going to be out for a while.”

Lisa Weiss was kneeling nearby with the pistol in her hand, watching the others. Dr. Daddy had returned to the jeep.

They loaded Miss Tolini into the back of the jeep along with Dr. Wolfgang. Miss Weiss was the last one back into the SUV, still looking around carefully before she loaded up. Abraham conveyed to the group they should loot the man who was shooting at them. He noted they would have to get into the water to get to him.

They drove down to the Pirate’s Cove Marina, at least according to the sign, and then into the area of condos and houses on Sailfish Drive. They saw very few cars in the driveways or parking lots. There was evidence of hasty evacuation with open doors and garage doors on several of the places. There were boats at some of the docks that had been sunken and most of the docks were empty. The shooter’s boat was anchored where the marina met the sound about a hundred feet out in the water.

“Is the threat neutralized?” Miss Weiss asked as they got close.

“Hell, yeah, it is,” Abraham said. “That just became my 30th confirmed kill.”

“Can anyone swim besides me? Because I can swim.”

“Are you proposing to go out to the boat?”

“I can.”

“Go ahead. Get on his boat and drive it back to the docks.”

She put down her pistol and climbed into the water, swimming slowly out to the boat. She had some difficulty getting up onto the boat as her clothes weighed her down but she finally made it up onto the bloody deck. The boat proved to be a small one with a single deck area and a small door that led to a tiny cabin. The name on the back of the vessel was Manteo Dreams.

She first checked the body. The man was dead, having been shot in the arm and the head. He had a Springfield M1 Garand rifle that looked like it belonged in a museum. A new model scope had been attached to it. The man wore white as if he was trying to camouflage himself on the deck of the boat. Searching the body produced three more magazines for the rifle and a key on a small key ring with a cork on it.

She opened the door to the tiny cabin and saw it mostly consisted of a cushioned floor, for sleeping, no doubt. She found food, mostly beef jerky and canned food. There were jugs of water as well as a lot of bottled water. A microwave was built into the boat. A few crayons lay on the floor and the man had written on the walls. It was mostly gibberish but she could make out “I will protect Virginia” and “They won’t take her again.”

She climbed back out and found the key fit in the boat. It started immediately and appeared to have about ¾ of a tank of gas. She carefully pulled the boat into the dock near their cars, bumping it roughly against the tires set into the sides of the dock. The others helped secure it to the dock.

They examined the boat and realized it would be a little tight for nine people. The cabin was only large enough to comfortably hold three. Up to five could probably sleep there if they didn’t mind being cozy. There was room enough on the deck of a half dozen more but they would not have any protection from the elements. The food in the boat would probably keep them all fed for at least a week.

Franks looked around but the little boat was probably the biggest left. They loaded all of the food and water into the suburban. Miss Weiss also showed them the rifle she’d found.

“I found this on the body,” she said.

“May I have that?” Abraham asked.

“Yes, if you know how to use it,” she said.

She also handed over the magazines.

“Dani, what about this Floyd guy?” Manny asked.

“What about him?” Miss Bateman said.

“Who is he? Why is he here? Where’s this Floyd fellow?”

“Dead guy’s not him, is it?” Franks said.

Manny had noticed another Honda Pilot parked not too far away. The vehicle didn’t have any keys in it but she took one of the wheels off it to replace their own blown tire. She put the doughnut wheel back into their own vehicle.

Abraham slow clapped her.

“Hey!” she said, standing up. “Hey!”

She walked over to the man and took a swing at him. Abraham leaned back, dodging out of the way of the blow. Then he held up his hand to high-five her. She reached up to his hand but grabbed it, pulling it down and getting in his face.

“You don’t do that again,” she said.

She turned and walked away.

“You’re more bad-assed than half the guys in my squad,” he said.

Miss Weiss just watched, wondering about the sexual tension that was already developing between the two.

They decided to split up and search houses in an attempt to scavenge useful items. It was only about 11 a.m. so they had plenty of daylight.

Franks and Manny headed off and started to search the nearby houses. Abraham called after them, telling them they needed to decide who was going to watch Miss Tolini.

“One of y’all can figure that out,” Franks called.

They walked away.

“I vote the nurse watches her,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“Who’s the nurse?” Abraham asked.

Dr. Wolfgang nodded at Dr. Daddy.

“What kind of doctor are you?” Dr. Wolfgang asked Dr. Daddy.

“Surgeon,” Dr. Daddy said.

“I’m also a surgeon. What’s your specialty?”

In the end, Miss Bateman and Dr. Daddy said they would stay with Miss Tolini.

“Who wants to group up with me?” Abraham asked.

He ended up going with Dr. Wolfgang while Miss Weiss and Miss Suarez went together. They split up and searched the place until the late afternoon.

The houses appeared to have been abandoned in a hurry. In most cases there was rotten food, some toys, and other nonessential items in the places, often littered on the floor as if the residents had left in a rush.

Miss Weiss and Miss Suarez were not able to find anything of great value except some bottled water and pop. Franks and Manny found a lot of valium, some pot, and other medical supplies, including a great deal of gauze, medicinal alcohol, pain killers and aspirin, and the like, as well as a small stash of medicinal morphine. There were also a lot of Band Aid brand bandages. Abraham and Dr. Wolfgang found a great deal of liquor. They found whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, and such in great amounts, apparently abandoned by the owners of the houses.

They regrouped at the cars.

“If people have already left here, I think we need to as well,” Miss Weiss said. “I think we need to take the boat to wherever we need to go.”

“All I’ve got to say is the first person we saw here shot at us,” Abraham said. “So, I don’t think we should do anything anyone here did. That’s all I got to say.”

“So, are you agreeing with me? I don’t think we should stick around to find out because they might be hostile as well.”

“All I got to say is the first person we saw here shot at one of us, hit one of us. I ain’t trusting that shit. If they all ****ing left, we’re staying.”

“Why are we staying?”

“No no no no no,” Dr. Wolfgang said. “Ve should leave and go to ze other side.”

“Aw hell no!” Abraham said. “We already got a blockade. We can block this ****ing bridge harder than they ever did. And we ****ing snipe the mother****ers. You saw me snipe the mother****er on the boat. I can snipe any mother****er. Especially you give me a rifle. Especially a rifle like that mother****er had. I can snipe any mother****er.”

“I’m able to compromise on staying here for tonight,” Miss Weiss said. “And just tonight.”

“Where are we going after that?” Manny asked.

“Here?” Abraham said.

“In one of these houses,” Miss Weiss said. “We have fortified the blockade so we have a safer place here tonight.”

“The blockade is fortified but I would at least say we all stay in the same condo so we’ll have protection around us,” Abraham said.

“Yes yes,” Dr. Wolfgang said. “We should move the next day zhough, so that ve are not in a compromised position.”

“What the **** did you just say?” Abraham said to him.

“What he’s trying to say is that he agrees with me,” Miss Weiss said. “We should stay the night.”

“Nod your ****ing head if what she’s said is correct,” Abraham said.

“Tonight should be fine,” Dr. Wolfgang said. “But tomorrow, we should we should work a better plan.”

“That makes a lot more sense than whatever the **** you said before,” Abraham said. “I swear to God. That is not what you said before.”

“I mean, I only knew Alexa and Dr. Daddy, here today,” Miss Weiss said.

“I’m just going to say this right now,” Abraham said.

“I mean─”

“We need a new name for ‘Dr. Daddy.’ I will not call that mother****er Dr. Daddy.”

“Okay, will it be better for you if I call him Dr. Han.”

“Yes! Any ****ing name other than Dr. Daddy. Listen, I’m from the military. I don’t call anybody ‘daddy’ any ****ing day, hour, minute, second of the ****ing day. I don’t do that. No one is daddy to me.”

“Let me say, I spent the last month with Alexa and Dr. Han, and I─”

“Dr. Han sounds ****ing fantastic.”

“I didn’t know any of you until today so I’m willing to spend one night here but we’ve got to get a move on tomorrow morning.”

“But where?” Manny asked.

“I’ve asked myself every ****ing second why I’m even here,” Abraham said. “I shouldn’t be.”

“I agree,” Dr. Wolfgang said to Miss Weiss.

“But where?” Manny asked again.

“Ze other side of ze island,” Dr. Wolfgang said. “Vhere it’s more …”

“Are we not camping out?” Abraham said. “I thought we were camping out in that condo that he said.”

“Yes. Tonight we camp out and tomorrow─”

“Let’s get that shit prepared right now,” Abraham said.

“And tomorrow─”

“I don’t give a **** about tomorrow! If we make it tomorrow, then we decide tomorrow. But as far as I’ve seen, you don’t know if you’re going to live five minutes from now.”

“Is true. It’s crazy.”

“Yes, it is true! Okay? So, we ****ing plan for now and if we make it to tomorrow─”

“He’s very defensive, yes?”

“You’re ****ing German, yes!?!”

“I will agree,” Miss Weiss said. “But he’s all we have. Abraham is probably the most qualified person here. The next qualified person here is in the car, unconscious. So we need him.”

“I have fought since day, mother****ing, one,” Abraham said. “I don’t think anybody else can say that.”

“No, I help people,” Dr. Wolfgang said. “You shoot people.”

“Who do you help?”

“The people that have been shoot.”

“So, I shoot them, then you help them?”

“Let’s not get into an argument,” Miss Weiss said.

“Before they became─” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“No, let’s get into an argument,” Abraham said.

“Before they became mutant beasts, I helped people to become─”

“Can you talk in more English than what you’re doing!?!”

“I speak English!”

“I don’t hear English! Oh God!”

“Do you not understand the words out of my mouth!?!”

“If we were born 60 years ago, we would be ****ing fighting each other, do you know that!?!”

“What!?!”

“Can we please put aside our differences and fortify a place in one of the condos?” Miss Weiss said.

“I have no problem with this man,” Abraham said.

“Okay.”

“But he does not drink whiskey and he does not carry guns. And for me, that is a problem!”

“I don’t mind ze vhiskey,” Dr. Wolfgang said.

“He’s not American and he’s not carrying a gun,” Abraham said. “He thinks he can fight everything with his ****ing fists!”

“Abraham!” Miss Weiss said.

“And he thinks he can heal with no medical solutions at all!” Abraham said.

“I drink ze alcohol because I find ze alcohol!” Dr. Wolfgang said.

While the argument continued, Franks started to fortify one of the condos.

“It is not continuous Octoberfest for you!” Dr. Wolfgang said. “Without me being on board as well!”

“We need to find a sanctuary,” Abraham said.

“Yes!”

“So, let’s go find a mother****ing sanctuary.”

“Yes.”

“We agree on that. Yes, you German ****! We agree on that.”

“You illiterate bastard!”

“I am not illiterate! I read what my CO tells me to read and nothing else! I am not illiterate!”

They all set to work helping Franks fortify one of the condos. He had gone into another of the nearby condos and found furniture to use to block the front and back doors. Since the condo was one of three in a building, all of them up off the ground with room underneath to park the vehicles, they were able to move some of the furniture from other condos into the one they were in. Each of the condos had three bedrooms and apparently enough beds and the like to sleep 12, so there was plenty of room.

They blocked the doors and windows near the bottom and also blocked the stairs that led up to the upper floors. Everything was done by nightfall. Though there was no electricity in the place, the water still worked. They also found a lot of scented candles and the like.

They spent the night of August 14, 2015, in the condo. Miss Bateman and Dr. Daddy hooked up in the master bedroom where they slept. Abraham and Franks slept on the lower floor, keeping a tentative watch, and placed Miss Tolini on the couch. Manny, Miss Weiss, and Miss Suarez shared another bedroom. Dr. Wolfgang got his own room where he thought he heard something from the master bedroom.

The night passed uneventfully.

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