My Terror Tuesday is ready. What could possibly happen at the pond that hasn't already happened? Nothing, you say? Oh, the mists say otherwise!
The Mists Of Papoose Pond-Chapter Sixteen
The undead smack at the jeep windows, doing their best to get at us. Their nails scratch against the glass, the weird oscillations tearing my head apart, the high-pitched crescendo digging deep inside my ear canals. Aagh! Enough is enough!
Bob and Zach are freaking out, sensing the end of their stay on this spinning rock. Tom? Shit! Tom does what Tom does best: he complains.
"This sucks, Ed! It fucking sucks!"
"You think?" I say.
"Yes, you wise ass. I think! What now, Mr. Calm and Collected?"
"Thought you'd never ask. We push the jeep up straight and drive the hell out of here."
Tom shakes his head. "You're nuts!"
"Watch me. Roll the driver's side windows down, guys."
Still thinking I'm crazy, they do as I ask, anyway. "Now, we have to time this just right or they'll bounce us around until this metal box we're inside splits from the pressure and we're pulled out like sardines. I don't feel like becoming their dinner. Let's push against the ground with our legs for all we're worth, then roll the windows back down pronto."
Nervous sweat runs like rivers off the faces of Bob and Zack, but we all push together at the same time and right the jeep. By the time the windows are rolled up, the wheels are spinning like crazy, shooting pieces of slash everywhere, cutting up the zombies, spewing pieces all around. Yes, it will create more of them, but that's not a major concern at the moment. Getting out of here alive and to the Armory: those are the goals.
However, there are so many of them that we can't plow straight ahead. Tom has to go forward, into reverse, and forward again-much as if we were caught in a snow bank and had to rock our way out. Only this time, the white stuff is exchanged for Satan's troops. Blood is splattered all around us and Zombie pieces crawl and climb everywhere, but the jeep gets through. Tom is one hell of a driver.
The windshield wipers work overtime to keep a clear portal for us to see through. Blood isn't exactly easy to clean from glass, and it doesn't help that this blood is not normal; it's an entity of its own, working to find a way in to the interior of the jeep where it can attack us.
Time is not our friend. the longer we drive with blood on the vehicle, the greater the risk of it reaching us.
Shit! Even now it's coming in through the sides of Tom's window, the logical place for an attack. Get the driver, and you control the vehicle.
"Watch out Tom!" I holler. "I need to get rid of some pretty pesky varmints."
Tom doesn't budge an inch; he knows he needs to keep driving. We need out of here. He can't stop now.
I grab an aerosol can and make a torch out of it, burning the invader and sending it back outside at the very least. With any kind of luck, I might have killed the sucker.
"Yeah, right," I think. "Wishful thinking, Ed."
I roll my windows down and reach across the windshield, using my torch to clear our vision, burning blood and guts alike. This time there's no doubt that I dispatched the demons, as ash flies everywhere and rapidly flits behind us.
Bob and Zach let out a whoop, but it's premature. We've lost the Zombies for now, but the Hell Hounds have joined in on the fun, one of them slicing into my right arm with its razor-sharp teeth, and others leaping up on the hood of the jeep, shattering the windshield and going along for the ride. They share my seat up front before I drag my wounded arm away from the one on the side and turn my lethal canister on their faces, burning their eyes and setting their muzzles on fire. While they're blinded and and fighting the flames, I struggle to kick them back outside.
"C'mon you two!" I holler to Bob and Zach."I could use some help here. I'm tired of being dog food!"
They finally grow a pair and help me wrestle them out on to the hood where Tom is able to shake them off with a few deft moves.
Finally . . .finally we've shed the vermin.
"Look at my fucking jeep!" Tom shouts. "It's a piece of shit now. A worthless piece of shit. We can't drive around without any windshield. These things will tear us apart.".
"Beats the piss out of walking," I say. "Just drive and don't invite any more of them for an excursion tour."
"You smart ass! When this is all over, I have half a mind to take you aside and teach you a good lesson or two."
"Yeah, yeah. Like this will be over any time soon. You just better hope the armory has vehicles with gas in them that we can use so we have some kind of protection. This little Willy's has fought its last battle."
Even though the night is dark and the road is rough, Tom drives fast, knowing he must outrun the hounds. I sure hope he knows where he's going and that gold is waiting for us at the end of the rainbow; the gold of trucks and flame throwers.
The old tote-road is loaded with holes and fallen timber, almost covering it in places. It's been a while since the armory has seen any kind of activity. I wonder if there's even a guard there. Of course, a guard would just be a hindrance to us getting what we need. I can just imagine us telling one that we need flame throwers and trucks to fight billions of zombies attacking the planet, walking through a viscous opening in the forest air, and eating every human they find.
Sure, that would be readily accepted as truth.
Of course, once the Zombies started chomping down on him, dragging his unbelieving body to the ground before finishing him off, his Doubting Thomas stance would be too late to change. Adios, sucker.
What would be a way for a place like this to maintain some sort of security, however, without having a physical presence? Yes, there are missile silos out west that are un-manned, but they are so well concealed that no one without a discerning eye would be able to tell they even existed, mixed in with natural grasslands and swallowed up by ranches. High tech alarm systems not only surround the missile sites themselves but the entire area surrounding them.
An unseen presence is everywhere-and nowhere-guarding them. Is that the way it is here too?
"C'mon, Ed. what difference does it make? you'll find out soon enough."
Sometimes, the answers are tougher than the questions. We arrive at the armory, too late to help any of the soldiers guarding the place. Cautiously, we drive through the open gates, looking at what is left of the skeleton force in charge.
They are skeletons in more than one way now.
From the confines of the jeep it's difficult to tell how long the troops have been lying here; as if I would be able to pinpoint a time; does it matter anyway? Zombies could be here regardless of when the soldiers were torn to shreds.
"Holy shit!" Tom says. "The bastards beat us here. They cleaned house."
"That they did, "I say. "Do you have any idea where the flame throwers are?"
"Yes, my friends told me they're located beneath ground level. There's a sort of underground repository."
"Big enough to drive into?"
"I don't know for sure, but it makes sense it would."
"Okay, let's say we find this place: we must certainly need a key or access code of some kind if it's digital."
Tom mutters under his breath, knowing what I say is true, but not knowing how to answer. "You got me. Let's look for it first. we won't have to worry about it if we don't find the fucker."
Ah, words of wisdom. Yet, I would much rather have a way in so I don't have to destroy the door. If they are a bunch of the weapons we need, it would make sense to secure them so we could get more when we need to re-supply.
We don't run into any zombies. That's a good thing. I'm not surprised, though. With their appetites sated, what further need would they have of the facility? None that I can see. They're not exactly G.I. Joe types. Zombies and weapons don't seem to go hand in hand. I'm not discounting anything, but the main thrust of Satan's army against humanity appears to be sheer numbers; billions of the bastards against all of us.
Not very good odds.
No sort of underground opening appears to us. It's not for lack of searching. We look everywhere. We do find a number of buildings with large garage type doors attached to them, but if one of them is the entry to a lower level, which one? They all look the same to me.
Damn! It's obvious now: one set of doors, huge doors, appear out of place against the back of a minuscule building. Outwardly, it makes no sense. And the clincher . . .the clincher is the number of dead soldiers in front of the doors; there must be at least a half dozen of them; more than we've seen any place else.
"This is the place, Tom!" I shout. "Let's search for a way in."
"What the . . ."
"Don't worry, Tom: this is it. I know it."
We pile out of the jeep and look around. The door does need a digital code card as I suspected. Now all we have to do is find it.
Feeling a bit ghoulish, I start searching what remains of the guards' clothing for the cards we need. On the third body, I hit pay dirt. Oh, yeah! I rush to the door and try it. The doors rise!
"Hurry up!" I holler. "Let's get inside."
Tom drives the jeep through the raised doors as Bob and Zach rush in behind him. Once everyone's in, I run the card through again and the door closes.
From here we walk, wanting to search every bit of this place to see what's here. I'm not disappointed: the drive area inside winds around like a parking garage and ends at a huge lower level that stretches beyond my vision. Weapons of every description are stacked everywhere, and one section is loaded with box truck like vehicles just waiting for us to use them.
We rush to the vehicles and start them up. All of them we try roar into action immediately, and all the gas gauges point to full.
"Oh, yeah!" Tom shouts. "This is beautiful! Let's find the flame throwers."
With all the armament stashed in here, it takes a while before we locate what we're looking for: backpacks and guns, most of the back packs containing two cylinders, one for petrol and one for nitrogen. The guns themselves are simple small reservoir, spring loaded valve and ignition systems. These babies are capable of firing out from 165 to 270 feet; not the close range weapon most envision them to be.
I never had reason to use any of these in 'Nam, but I had been instructed in their use and deployment. After all, I was a Weapons Munitions Specialist. We had to know it all.
Giddy with delight, we head back to where the trucks wait for us. We're halfway there when it happens; the first one seems like a minor settling of the ground; no big thing; merely nature working to restore some order in the constant shifting of the plates below.
Then . . .then the ground beneath us shakes, creating small cracks in the paved floor before erupting into cataclysmic upheaval, the roar making my hands rush to protect my ears from the impact of an enormous bellowing. The cracks turn into fissures and then become gaping gashes threatening to swallow us whole. Zach slips in to one, but he's close enough to where I'm able to reach his arm and pull him out.
Impeccable timing: he is no sooner out than the two sides of the fissure slam against each other, obliterating the abyss he was almost trapped in.
Over and over again the scene is played out. We have no time to watch this display of mother nature's wrath.
This is a major earth quake, unheard of for this area. Tell that to the four of us. We're right in the middle of the whole fucking show. No tickets needed.