Time for my Terror Tuesday The Mists Of Papoose Pond-Chapter Twenty. Tom and Louise are not very happy with Ed. I wonder why . . .
The Mists Of papoose Pond Chapter Twenty
Taking some deep breaths, pushing oxygen back into my brain, I'm able to obtain enough mindset to stay conscious. There's not much oxygen around me, but there is enough so I don't collapse from its deprivation.
"Okay, Ed. There's fire; you're trapped; what do you do now?"
Not much to debate with myself in the gray matter: get the fuck out!
I shove for all I'm worth against the falling timber, using my knees as well as my hands and arms.
Whoah! The big piece of burning wood wedges on something. I have some wiggle room now.
Knowing everything could collapse in on me again, I scramble for all I'm worth, getting out and away just as the timber comes smashing down again. There's no time to rest. The kids. I have to find the kids!
No longer able to hear the crying because of the roaring inferno, I search everywhere and hit pay dirt: six children are hiding in a closet under the stairwell leading to the loft. Instructing them on how to crawl out on their hands and knees, I get them to the entry way, and they scramble to safety.
"Check for anyone else left in here!" I holler to the others, who just now discovered what happened. "Look in rooms, closets, bathrooms, everywhere. This place is going up fast!"
"Fuck!" Tom shouts, rushing in. "This ain't good!"
And I thought I was the understatement kid.
"Stop jawing and start doing!" I holler. "We need to find survivors if there are any."
Yes, Tom's a little mad at me, but what does it matter? If anyone is left, we have to get them out of here.
As fast as we can, we search the lodge, finding people hiding in different areas: twelve at least, are downstairs. Shit! We can save their sorry asses for now, but this is some major fucking war we're in now, and if they continue with this cowardice nonsense, they will die. I'll help the kids, but the adults have to pony up to the bar. I don't wish to die, or put any of my soldiers at risk, because of a weasel -assed bastard with no guts.
We get out of the lodge moments before the building is totally engulfed in flames. Tom shakes his head as his fortress against end times becomes burning rubble.
"Damn!" he shouts. "What destroys the Zombies destroyed the lodge. What now?"
"Not rocket science," I say, "the armory is the place to go now. I don't see any other options. Do you?"
He shakes his head. "No, that makes sense. For now, at least, that's the strongest refuge we have."
Refuge is the wrong word. Perhaps R&R, a little rest and recuperation between attacks against the enemy. But that's it. We need to hit and run and hit and run some more. What good does it do if we survive and the rest of this spinning orb is destroyed by Satan's minions? If everyone else becomes toast, we're all that's left.
We won't be left for long.
We're off the porch and battling Satan's army once more, some new troops added to the fray once I've shown them how to work the flame throwers. Sadly, there is no sight of George. I believe he became a casualty. Louise tried. Shit; we all tried to save him, but we are reverting back to a survival of the fittest mode now. We save who we can, but not everyone will be able to make it to the next level.
One wrong move; one misplaced step; and it's all over: for any of us.
It's too late to try and remove any food or supplies from what was once a bastion of hope and safety. There better be supplies at the armory for our little gang. Our numbers have dwindled down to about thirty. Man, we took a hit.
Thirty versus billions. The odds are stacked. The vacationers at Papoose Pond are on the short end. That pretty well sucks.
The thirty are fighting, though, and driving the Zombies away. I have no false hopes that we've seen the last of them. There's a whole world for them to conquer, but we're still a thorn in the Dark Angel's side. Question? How do we twist that thorn and create a festering of such gigantic proportions that the Fallen One loses his cool and does something stupid, leaving himself open for attack?
We load the troops into the trucks, and Tom and I prepare to go to the Black Hawk, when one of the campers comes running over to us.
"This is a beauty," he says. "Where did you get it?"
"At the armory," I say. "Why?"
"I flew one of these in Iraq. Mine had the wings over the fuselage the same as this one."
"Really? Your name is?"
"Howard. Howard Jones."
"Well, Howard, to be perfectly honest, I sort of suck at this flying stuff. Could you teach me a thing or two? We have more of these babies at the Armory."
"Oh, yeah! I'd love to fly one again!"
We wave Bob and Zach on, and the three of us hop into the copter."Watch me," Howard says. "It's really simple once you get the initial steps down."
"You're the man," I say.
Howard pushes and pulls all the right switches with an air of familiarity I certainly didn't have. Even with his deliberate, instructive approach, we're airborne in nothing flat. It should be a lot easier the next time around. We catch up to the trucks rapidly and stay with them to provide an extra measure of security. The road appears to circumvent the Zombie march towards the mass of humanity not expecting their attack.
Even though we just fought a battle and all of us are dog tired, we need to locate supplies at the Armory and re-arm for the battle ahead. While an underground bunker would appear to be the safest from a direct Zombie attack, we also need an alternate plan in case more earthquakes come storming through.
We arrive at the Armory and land the helicopter on a pad while Bob and Zach stop the trucks close to the bunker entrance.
"What now, Wonder Kid?" Tom asks.
"We need to find food and water and reload for our next assault," I say.
Tom shakes his head as if he was expecting a little more of an answer from me. Shit! The fucking basics! Do what needs to be done first.
Since we hadn't spotted any food the last time we were here, I figure it must be stored deeper in to the facility we were in, or in another. Hell, perhaps both. It makes sense in a way: why store everything in one place? If that haven of security had its doors shut in your face, you were adios amigos. Spread the wealth; increase the odds of survival.
"Let's spread out, Tom," I say. "There must be other repositories for weapons and food alike."
He nods. Things are falling in to place now. We're clicking as a team. We need to.
"You're right," Howard says. "I've seen places like this before. I might know where to find some armaments and supplies. Some things run pretty much to form. In a way, it doesn't make any sense: predictability is never a good thing, but we are dealing with an enemy that's not exactly CIA trained."
"Let's hope," I say.
"Shit! That's all we'd need," Tom says. "High intelligence zombies would be a mind-fuck!"
"Regardless," the pissy side of Tom showing up again, "let's get moving."
Louise jumps to my side. "I'm watching you, buster. You don't know when to ease off. I'm your shadow."
"Sounds good to me. Do shadows ever . . .?"
"Hey, that's my daughter you're talking about here! Besides, we have a war to fight."
I shake my head. "You are a moment breaker, Tom."
Louise takes my hand and we open the doors to the first bunker with the card inside the Willy's and head down below. She stares in amazement at everything surrounding us, but isn't very happy with the evidence of the earthquake.
"What if . . .?"
"Don't worry, sweetie," I say. "What happens, happens. We need supplies, and we'll need more weapons."
"That's why I'm down here with you, Ed! You have more balls than brains!"
"Your dad told me the same thing. That line of reasoning must run in the family."
She punches me in the shoulder, and we continue our search, going beyond where we were before, finding new rooms, new armaments, and yes: some rooms loaded with food and water. Okay, so they're the old green can survival things and c-rations, but I wasn't expecting steamed clams and drawn butter, either.
"Alrighty," I say. "This is great. Let's see where this little driveway leads to."
For some reason, there is far less evidence of earthquake damage here. Fault lines must be tricky little bastards.
We climb and come to another set of doors. The card activates this side as well as the other. This is great! Two avenues of entry and escape, with one being hopefully more accessible than the other.
Stepping outside, the sounds of our army are everywhere, searching for new areas of containment. Howard has found one and managed to open the doors with some sort of fork-lift he found. Yes, the doors are worthless right now, but the booty . . .the booty stored within is there for the taking. We were lucky with the one Louise and I just left, but trying to find access code cards for everything will be a tough go.
Besides, hunkering down for the long term is not what we plan to do anyway. The only way to survive against the impossible odds we face is a hit and run approach, fading in to the shadows after each assault, regardless where those shadows are.
Some of the others have found similar enclaves of treasure. We won't starve for a while, that's for sure. Of course, we have to survive to be able to eat.
Tom is especially happy. He's found an area about as large as the original, with more flame throwers, napalm, and more. Wow! This Armory is stoked. Why all this shit is here is beyond me, but I'll accept the riches.
"Now what?" Tom asks. "What should we do now? Strike while we can? Rest?"
"Let's load up armaments and supplies, get some helicopters ready, and rest for a while before heading out," I say."I have a plan."
"Will I like it?"
"Of course not! Why should things change now? We're still alive, though, aren't we?"
"Barely. You've almost gotten us killed a number of times."
"Almost doesn't count."
"Do we leave anyone here to guard the Armory?" Louise asks.
"No, sweetie," I say. "Safety in numbers. If we're all together, it will be easier to watch each others' backs."
"Makes sense,' Tom says.
No more word flipping; it's action time. All thirty of us work as a team and do what has to be done. Within an hour we're loaded and ready to go.
We drive the trucks into the safer end of the original, most secure, bunker and close the doors behind us. Stretching out in the sleeping bags we found, it doesn't take long for any of us to fall asleep. No sense in posting sentries. Everyone's on pins and needles anyway. Survival mode is in high gear. If anything happens, we'll all know it. We need to catch whatever sleep we can.
Though we are surrounded by high-tech warfare and all, our basal instincts are now what early man used. In order to survive, we must become sensitive to our surroundings and not become easy pickings for what awaits us.
Thirty versus billions. Insurmountable odds? A foolish pipe dream? Maybe the others would be better off if I let Satan take my worthless carcass. Maybe He would ease off on the rest of our army then. Or would he still want to annihilate them anyway? Shit! That's his plan for the entire planet. No one is safe.
I sleep, but I don't sleep; I rest, but I don't rest. New games. A new plan. Idiocy, stupidity, and full-blown bull shit. It doesn't matter. At first, the others won't accept it, but they will in time: the adrenaline rush will over take all of us.
* * * *
I'm awake first, listening to everything around me, preparing my mind for whatever is to come. Okay, shoot me! Excitement runs through my veins and arteries, pumping harder with every pass through my heart. The thrill of the battle to come is giving me a rush of supernatural proportions. I never experienced this in 'Nam, even with better odds of survival. But over there it was still human versus human. This is not.
These fuckers deserve to die. I'll do my part to make certain as many of them reach that point as possible. But do you really kill the undead? Are they not already dead? Even in ashen form, are they still undead? Will they somehow recombine down the line in some sort of miraculous ascension to battle us once more?
If this shit happens, there is no other outcome for humanity besides total annihilation. For now, I'll believe in ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
I walk outside to the Black Hawks, making certain they're ready for battle. Howard and I are the only two pilots. The rest of our troops will have to use the trucks. They won't like what lies ahead, but it's our only plan; as outlandish as it will seem to them.
Mists pour in from the east, from the direction of the pond. It's a surreal experience, my shoulders and head above the fog and everything else below. Shapes, much larger than mine appear, walking towards me, towering above the line of heavy moisture.
Our webbed friends; somehow they knew that we will do battle today. They're here to join in. Our odds are getting better.
"I knew they'd come."
Turning around, I see Tom advancing towards us, smiling at his friends. For the first time, I can understand their thoughts and know they approve of what we aim to do.
Tom realizes through their minds what my plans are and cringes, unable to believe what the thought transference is telling him."You're kidding me, Ed! Surely, you don't actually plan to carry out your farce?"
"Yes, Tom, I do. Your friends . . .read their minds, feel their thoughts, embrace the positive vibes they possess. As much as me, they are ready for our attack.
"Lunacy! Sheer fucking lunacy! How did you convince these intelligent beings to adopt the drippings of your insane mind?"
"They arrived on their own, Tom. Had I not come up with this plan, they would have. The best defense is a good offense."
"Jesus, Ed. We're talking about a chance of total annihilation, and you talk football tactics."
"Not me, Tom. It'll be a long time before football gets played on this planet again. Maybe never."
The new recruits load themselves in the Black Hawks, and the remainder patiently wait for the trucks to roll out from underground.
They don't have long. Howard and Louise lead the charge, truck after truck behind them, twenty at least, ready to form into a convoy of destruction.
"Tom," I say. "go with Howard. Louise can fly with me and my compadres. The rest of our buddies can load themselves into the trucks with the rest of our troops. We're ready for the first assault."
No matter how much he hates the idea hatched in my brain and accepted by a higher intelligence than ours, Tom goes to the Black Hawk which Howard already has revving up, grinning like the Cheshire Cat."
I jump in to our Black Hawk, and because of Howard's expert training from before, I'm actually able to zip it into take-off mode in a flash. Woo, hoo! This is some good shit!
Everyone's ready to leave now, and I motion for them all to follow me.
Through the air and down the road we go, seemingly a haphazard, almost pitiful group on a doomed mission. Doomed my ass! No one will suspect what we are up to. Not even Satan himself.
I can almost hear the thoughts forming in his mind now; the disbelief and shock at the audacity of our purpose and determination. A wicked grin jumps on to my face, and Louise stares at me in wonder; okay, maybe she's doubting my sanity more than anything else.
"Oh, Ed!" she shouts, "you are the craziest man on the planet."
I look at her and say,"Yes, I am, sweetie, but we need a little crazy and a lot of balls now."
We reach the viscous opening, the boundary between Hell and earth. An endless stream of Zombies are passing through in different stages of decay and disarray.
"Hang on!" I shout. "This might be a little rough!"
The Black Hawk shakes a little as we hit the divide, but it holds up.
"Damn you, Ed!" Louise screams. "You've done it now!"
"Yes, I have, baby! We're on the fast track to Hell!"
Howard comes in behind me, and the trucks bring up the rear, tearing through Satan's minions.
I drop some napalm on the hordes below, and Howard does the same. The trucks let loose with the flame throwers, sticking them out the windows and the rear of the trucks. Everywhere around us we hear the screams of burning zombies.
The air becomes heavy and dark, and a feeling of intense power is everywhere. It becomes alive: pushing, pulsing, pounding against us. The electrical power upsets the helicopter's mechanisms. It stalls out and starts a downward spiral.
"Fuck with me, Mr. Ed?! Welcome to Hell!"