Long Wait – Part 2

Posted: January 29, 2016 in Book I Terror in Texas
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When Randy had filled both truck gas tanks and the three had eaten a quick meal of fast food, Randy shuffled everyone back into the truck and headed out again.

They got to the Lodge late the next afternoon. It was a long grueling drive and they had fallen into bed at Randy’s cabin as soon as they got inside. They woke the next morning to see their boxes and bags sitting by the front door.

That was three days ago. They spent the first day at the cabin watching the news channels and worrying and watching it all fall apart and news channels disappear one after another. After only a few hours, too worried to just sit amid the squalor of Randy’s cabin, Wilma started cleaning. It took Wilma and Cassie two days just to get the cabin up to Wilma’s standards.

Now they were being asked to move into the lodge. She looked at the bags at her feet. Randy had dropped her at the front door and told her to find a room for her and Cassie and move in. He promised to bring the rest of their belongings that evening.

She hadn’t really gotten a chance to get acquainted with the General. Both men spent sun up to sun down working and the three times she had been in the man’s presence, he’d been gruff and bad-tempered. She wasn’t looking forward to living with a man with such a sour disposition.

She stood admiring the main hall. The massive log building was the inspiration for the rental cabins. A stone fireplace divided the public room into two areas. One side included seating areas with comfortable couches and chairs and the other, three large rustic tables with benches on both sides. On the far side of the dining room were two doors she imagined led to the kitchen.

At the far side of the room was an open wooden staircase leading up to the second level where an open balcony displayed a number of doors. All the wood looked hand-hewn including the steps of half-log and gnarled wood railings and banisters.

“Home sweet home, I guess.” She whispered.

She picked up her and Cassie’s bags and climbed the stairs to the second floor. She glanced from left to right and decided if General Will Edmonds used the bedroom on the right, she was going to the opposite end of the hall. She walked to the end of the hall and opened the door.

Inside were two double beds with a stripped wood bedframe, a couple easy chairs, a desk with an office chair, and a six drawer dresser with television and DVR player. On the outside of the door was a wood placard on a string with vacant painted on one side. When she turned it over she realized the room would be labeled occupied. She turned it over.

Wilma set a bag on the foot of each bed and turned to leave. She looked around one last time and imagined the property as a resort. With each room having an iron stove for warmth in cold weather, the resort would have been extremely popular with the hunters and outdoorsmen it was intended to accommodate.

Wilma shrugged. Those days were over. She wasn’t naïve, Texas, California, Georgia, and Maryland were lost and the rest of the country would follow. There was no chance of the borders being sealed tight enough to limit the spread of the infections. The country would fall and with the first reports of the infection appearing in Europe, Asia and the Middle East the world would follow.

Her eyes welled with tears at the thought of her eldest daughter out in a world where the dead rose up to consume the living. Wilma had been a child of the cold war, lived through the pain of 9/11. She had spent the last fifteen years watching young men fight a losing battle in a place with burning sand and extremists ready to kill anyone not willing to follow their version of religion. She sighed deeply. The world was a nightmare and all they could do was try to survive and pray family did as well.

Wilma squared her shoulders and walked out of the room and made her way to the downstairs kitchen. She walked through the door and was horrified at the mess. She was disgusted. Obviously, the General had been cooking and NOT cleaning for the past week. She walked to the refrigerators and looked inside. There were three units, two were empty and not turned on. The third had been filled with a variety of food stuff and not with any great care. She closed the door and turned to face the sink. It was filled with pots and pans, dirty dishes and a multitude of food crusted utensils. The stench of blood, raw meat, and rotting food was overpowering.

After a quick perusal of cleaning supplies, Wilma began the daunting task of scrubbing the room that had been used to process the deer she was supposed to cook. Wilma started with dishes. After soaking the crusted food loose, she slid glasses, into fresh soapy water and washed dozens of glass, pot, pans and stacks of dishes. She refilled the sink with more clean soapy water and cleaned the counters, the stove and refrigerator then found a bucket and mop, to scrub the floors.

Still working on scrubbing Wilma glanced at the large clock above the industrial sink. She struggled to her feet and pulled a pre-made lasagna and garlic bread from one of the overstocked freezers to prepare for lunch. Hard work required calories but she had too much cleaning to do to prepare the deer meat. If the General had a problem, he could cook his own meals.

At twelve-thirty, Will, Cassie and Randy arrived for the mid-day meal. Cassie was first to walk into the spotless kitchen.

“Something smells good.” Cassie commented.

When the foursome sat down to eat, Will scowled at the pan of lasagna. “Thought we still had deer meat left.”

Wilma glared at him. “You wanted me to cook in a kitchen that hasn’t been cleaned in God knows how long? There wasn’t a pan or pot without food burnt in the bottom. If you want me to prepare meals for you, fine. But I’ll be doing it my way. And that means no more processing meat in this kitchen. You left this kitchen looking and smelling like a slaughter house. You left blood and scraps of meat splattered all over. You both have been living like pigs.”

“Ain’t my fault. Elaina and her husband, Juan, left to visit family in Mexico the week before all this shit happened. Until you and Cassie got here it was just me and Randy.” Will scowled. “We had more important things to worry about than doing dishes.”

“I appreciate your thinking about us in Houston, but you can’t treat us or anyone else as if we are hired help. I’ll contribute to the well-being of this group, but you will not be shooting out orders when it comes to meals as long as I’m cooking.”

“Okay, already. You made your point.” Will answered sounding a little more contrite than he really wanted. He reached for a piece of bread to go with his serving of pasta.

Wilma added. “I need Cassie to help me inventory all the food stock this afternoon. We need to start rationing fuel so we can continue to run the generator to maintain the freezers.”

“We won’t be using the generators much longer. I’m going to finish hooking up the solar panels tomorrow.”

“Fine then I won’t worry about the fuel issue but there is more to be thinking about. Is there a garden? Frozen food will run out, eventually. We need to think about sustainability.”

Will answered. “There’s a chef’s garden out back.”

Wilma threw up her hands. “We need to plant as much garden as we have useable space. You keep telling me there is going to be a lot more people coming. If that’s the case, we have to create a self-sustaining environment.”

Will scowled. “We don’t have the man-power.”

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