Archive for February, 2017

“Gentlemen, gentlemen…no need to be so jumpy.  I assume you’re Lieutenant Monroe, so you’re the man I am here to see.”  The man stepped closer to Matt and reached out with his right hand.  “I’m Reverend Jacob Billings.”

“Well, Reverend Billings, you have just barged into my home.”  Matt ignored the outstretched hand and Billings let his hand drop to his side. “You three can turn around and get the hell out of here.”  He bellowed.

Billings looked startled then reached out as if he could appease Matt’s ire.  “Sir, I mean no disrespect….”

“You damned well did disrespect me by barging into our home.  Now get out!”  Matt nodded at Jake.

Jake walked over to the trio and with Larry coming up behind him, escorted the men outside.  He pulled the door closed behind them and flipped the lock.

Matt slumped into the recliner just as Amanda walked into the room carrying Claire and with Amy at her side. She chuckled.  “Well, that was interesting.  You know that isn’t the end of it.”

Matt looked up.  “No, but it gives me a night to sleep on it.”

Amanda’s face tightened, and she handed Claire to Amy.  She turned to Jake.  “Now I think you can go see if the doctor Matt brought back is all he claims to be.”

Jake’s mouth turned down in worry.  “Oh, Lord, have mercy.  It’s time?”  He raced to the door, flung it open and raced outside.

“I’m going to the bedroom upstairs.  Please have the doctor come up when he gets here. The kids can stay in the downstairs bedroom.”  She suddenly gasped and folded against herself as she clutched at the doorway.

Matt stepped up and draped his left arm around Amanda and swept his right under her legs.  He pulled her off her feet, turned and headed up the back stairs.

“I got this.  Larry, look after the girls.”

Matt carried Amanda up the stairs and through the door at the top of the stairs.  He looked around then crossed the room to the double bed.  He sat her gently down on the sagging mattress.  “What can I do?”

“Help me into this gown,”  Amanda answered around a groan of pain.  She pulled the loose t-shirt she was wearing over her head while Matt reached for the cloth.  She loosened her bra and tossed it and the shirt to a nearby chair.

“It’s going to be hard enough having this baby without drugs.  I’ll be damned if I’m wearing this thing.”

Matt held up the gown while turning away from Amanda’s full breasts and her swollen belly.  She stuck her arms into the armholes and let the thin material fall down around her.  “Okay, I’m decent.  Let me hold your arm” Matt, reached out and Amanda stepped out of her sandals and shed her shorts and underwear.  She reached back to lay a sheet and quilt aside and then looked up.   “You can let me go now.”

He did, and she eased into the bed and pulled the sheet over her just as another contraction gripped her midsection. She curled onto her side and moaned.

“What can I do?”  Matt whispered.  “I don’t know what I can do to help.”

Amanda forced a laugh.  “Can you have this baby for me?”  At Matt’s shocked expression she groaned.  “You can rub my back.”  She rolled to her right.

Matt felt the panic rise.  After a brief hesitation, he reached out with his fingers and lightly stroked her back between her shoulder blades.

“Not there,”  Doc called out from the doorway.  “Use your thumbs and make circles right above the dimples of her bottom. “

Doc walked into the room with Helen at his side.  “Well, I guess we got her in plenty of time after all.

Matt watched as Doc removed his jacket and set a bag and box of supplies on the chair.  He walked around the bed to sit down in front of Amanda.  “Now, Helen will get some things set up then when we get all settled I’d like to do an examination and see how far along we are. If that’s alright with you?”

He continued without giving Amanda a chance to answer.  “I’ve been retired for a while, but having babies is as easy as riding a bike.  I don’t have much to do, but make sure you’re doing what you need to do.  Actually, Helen will be doing more.  She brought a few things but do you have towels and baby stuff?”  He looked around and noticed the stack of newborn supplies on the dresser.  “Well, I guess that answers that.  You’re pretty well prepared, looks like.”  With a nod from Helen, Doc got to his feet. “Well sounds like we’re ready. Let’s see how we’re doing.”  He turned to Matt.  “You can wait outside until we’re done.”

Matt’s heavy footsteps could be heard escaping down the stairs.  A minute later, Doc opened the door to see Jake sitting on the top step.

Matt walked into the manager’s office and placed Claire in the portable crib for her nap.  He sat down in the recliner and watched Amy as she prepared a bottle and gave it to her sister.

“You take good care of your sister, pumpkin.”  He smiled.

“When we go to Pampa’s, I want Mommy to see I did a good job,” Amy answered.  She walked into the living room and handed her sister the bottle.  “When are we going to Pampa’s?”

Matt rubbed his hand across the stubble on his chin.  “I don’t know pumpkin.”

Amy’s bottom lip quivered.

Matt leaned toward Amy, picked her up and pulled her onto his lap. “I’m sorry, pumpkin.  We have a lot of people depending on us right now. Larry, Jake and I can’t leave the rest of the soldiers to take care of them.  There’s just not enough people to take care of all the other children.”

“What about the preacher man and his friends?”  Amy answered.

“Preacher man?”  Matt asked.

“Mr. Larry brought them back when they found the new campers.  He wanted to move in here.  He said he needs a place to hold church, but Mr. Jake told them no.”

Amanda stepped through the door with Jake close behind.  “Good grief, Jake.  I can walk across the parking lot.”

Amanda picked up Claire and headed back to the bedroom.  “Let’s put your sister down then you can get ready for bed, Amy.  Let Mr. Matt and Mr. Jake visit.”

Matt walked to the kitchen and got a glass of water.  He took one of the pills Doc had given him then turned back to see Larry had also arrived.  “I guess I’ve missed a few things around here.”

“No shit.”  Larry lamented.  “What are you taking pills for?”

“I got a problem, and Doc is helping me over the worst of it,”  Matt answered.

“Do I need to worry?”  Larry asked.

Matt sighed.  “Fucking drink too much.  Happy now?”

“Sorry. I ah….”  Larry stammered.

“Move on.  When we’re done here, collect all the bottles and store them with the rest of the supplies under lock and key. Now, what’s with the new people?” Matt asked.

“We found a map of the surrounding campgrounds two days ago and decided to check a few out. The thought was, maybe they’d have salvageable campers.  Yesterday we came across the preacher and his little group at one of the campsites where we found the campers.  If it weren’t for the three kids, I would have left them there.”

“Only way he’d let us take the empty campers was to come along,”  Larry grumbled.

“I guess, they are not integrating well.”

“He started making demands the minute we arrived” Jake settled on the couch.  “He thinks he deserves special accommodations.” Matt started to ask about the accommodations when there was a commotion at the door.

A big, burly man is bib overalls jerked the front door open and stepped aside to allow a man in a black suit with a white clerical collar to enter the front room of the Manager’s Office.  A second man followed as if the preacher required protection from attack.

Matt jumped to his feet with his hand on his gun.  “Who in the hell do you people think you are?”

Both Jake and Larry joined him with pulled weapons.

He followed Brian to the ingress of the hall.  Brian stopped and whistled.  Muffled sounds could be heard behind the last door on the right past two restroom entrances and another door identified as Manager.  At the end of the hall, a sign identified the door at the end of the hall as an Exit.

“Billy, clear the woman’s,”  Brian ordered as he snapped on his flashlight. “I’ll get the men’s.”

Brian eased around the opening of the doorway, flicked on a flashlight and crossed to the opposite wall.  He pressed his back against the cold tire and side stepped to the corner.  He leaned around the edge of the wall and fanned the light across the dark recesses.  He saw a row of sinks on the left and half a dozen stalls on the right. Most of the stall doors were open. He moved into the gloom and quickly walked past each doorway shining the light inside.

He backtracked to the entrance just in time to see Billy appear with a quick shake of his head.  “Clean in here.”

“My six, Billy.”

Brian took a dozen steps to the Manager’s office door and tapped twice.  The commotion inside the room startled both Brian and Billy.  Billy forced a laugh.

“Guess we know where the company is.  You think one or two…or more?”

Brian stepped back to the door.  He knocked again, and a body slammed against the door then scratched against the wood.  “One, I think.”

“At least the door opens inward,” Billy announced.

“Alright.  We do it like this.  You turn the knob then I kick in the door on three.”

Billy gave him a thumbs-up, and from the side of the door, he reached over to lightly check the door knob.  He gave a twist and the knob only move a quarter inch then stopped.  He turned back to announced.  “Locked.”

Brian nodded, and Billy pulled a short metal pry bar from his belt. He slipped the forked end into the crack between the door facing and door. With a nod from Brian, he pulled back.  Hard. With a swift kick at the side of the knob, Brian shattered the door facing, and the door slammed back into the room. It hit something solid and bounced back toward the opening.

Billy caught the door with the toe of his boot and gave it a nudge back while he stepped into the room and sidestepped to the left.  Just as Billy disappeared into the room, Brian reached out and pushed against the door until it stopped moving.  Billy sidestepped deeper into the room and nudged a chair away.

“On the floor.”

Brian followed Billy’s blade to see a man in khakis and a golf shirt with the truck stop logo on the front.  “He came in here and died.”  He stepped up just as the infected man got to his feet.  “Sorry man.” Brian drove his knife blade into the man’s eye. The infected slumped to the ground.  “Let’s get the back cleared then drag the bodies out back.”

“We can go through the vehicles and see if there is anything we can use.  I’d like to check out some of those trucks.”  Billy said.

“It’s getting dark.  Let’s get moving. We need to secure the building.”  Brian agreed as he headed back to the front of the store.

Together the four men cleared the parking lot, piled bodies in the back after searching for keys on each.  They found half a dozen sets of keys in pockets and purses but were less than excited. The keys belonged to a big rig, two real junkers, a truck, a sedan and a Suburban.

“We could always hot wire one of the other vehicles.”  Billy volunteered.

“”I think we’ve all established the fact none of us have that skill set.”  Brian laughed.

Leon walked up to the pair.  “Looks like the Suburban is in pretty good shape.  The pickup is an option for a second vehicle.  I found hoses and a small hand pump so I can fill gas tanks and the three five gallon gas cans we found.  If we take two vehicles, it’s more fuel but also gives us options if we run into trouble.”

Juan joined the trio.  “We found a few supplies in the back room.  Not much but extra cases of water, some packaged foods, and some Zombie t-shirts.”  He grinned. “We at least get to change clothes.”

“Throw those fucking shirts on that pile of bodies!”  Brian ordered.

Juan shrugged. “If you want, but I kinda like the green ones with all the blood.”  He chuckled as he walked away.

“Fucktard.”  Billy laughed.