DAY 37

I’ve never been a fan of haunted houses or horror movies. Having someone, or something, suddenly jump out and scare the crap out of me is not my idea of a good time. I know that there are many people who like the sudden rush of adrenaline, the hammering of their heart in their chest, and cold sweat induced by the fear that these activities bring about, but I just don’t get it. Perhaps it’s the fact that they know in the back of their minds that they aren’t in any true danger that allows them to find enjoyment in these sensations. I just don’t like being scared.

Unfortunately, necessity required that I walk into a building that I was unfamiliar with and knew contained an unknown number of zombies that would like nothing better than to eat me alive. Having both Bert and Beth with me did not ease any of the tension that I was feeling. I suppose that I didn’t really have to go into the hospital. I was perfectly content not knowing what made the virus tick. I didn’t need any of the items on Beth’s shopping list, nor did I need any of the materials to set up her isolation rooms. If Beth was right about what the virus is doing to me, then I most likely would never need any of the drugs she suggested we should look for either.

But if I’m going to have other people living in my building, and we’re going to work together for our mutual survival, then there are going to be times when I’m going to have to do things that I don’t particularly want to do. So I walked into that hospital with Bert and Beth. Bert hadn’t wanted Beth to come with us, but she knew her way around and it would save us a great deal of stumbling about in the dark looking for exactly what she wanted. The buildings on the hospital campus were all connected, though the ones separated by streets were only connected by walkways over the streets. We entered the hospital building that Beth said was primarily laboratory and research spaces.

We were a rather pathetic looking assault force: me with tomahawks in both hands and a gun hanging on my hip, Beth behind me with a pistol, and Bert bringing up the rear with a shotgun. We all wore LED lamps strapped to our heads to keep our hands free, and they did a good job of illuminating the hallway ahead of me. The building was quiet, and the halls were empty on the first floor. I kept expecting a zombie to jump out at me from one of the doorways, or at least smack a window as I passed a door, but it didn’t happen; which just made it worse the longer I went waiting for it to happen. Beth gave me directions, whispering behind me, and we made it to a stairwell.

I noted that there was a keycard reader next to the door, and I was really hoping the door wouldn’t open when I gave the handle a tug. But I guess that they wanted people to be able to get out in an emergency should the power go out and the door opened easily. The stairwell went all the way to the top of the building, and down two sub levels, and I listened carefully as the door clicked shut behind us. I attempted to peer up between the handrails, but my light only illuminated about three floors and didn’t really show me anything. But I continued to stare up into the darkness, straining my eyes and my ears in an effort to make certain we were alone in the stairwell.

Then Beth tapped me on the shoulder. I yelped loudly and am relatively certain my heart leaped hard enough to do actual physical damage inside my chest. I’m not sure if the virus kept me from passing out, but I suspect that without it, Beth would have had to put her medical skills to use to revive me.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Beth!” I hissed loudly. “You can not just sneak up on someone like that in a dark fucking stairwell that could be full of zombies!”

“Oh relax and grow a pair,” she responded, and actually had the nerve to sound annoyed at me. “You knew I was behind you. We only have to go up to the second floor. There is a lab there that should have all the equipment I need.”

I was about to snap at her again, but Bert caught my eye and just shook his head. I’m not sure if Beth could read the anger in my face. I suspect she is one of those doctors that are completely oblivious to other peoples’ feelings, having learned to tune them out in order to more easily deal with patients that could potentially die at any moment. So I inhaled deeply, released as much of the anger as I could, and then made my way to the next floor. After peering through the narrow window of the door and not seeing anything, I slowly pushed it open and stepped into the hall. Beth brushed past me, saw no obvious zombies, and took the lead.

When Bert saw the irritation in my eyes, he said softly, “You’ll get used to it.”

“Sure. You only needed 60 years.”

Bert snorted lightly, “That sounds about right.”

We followed after Beth, but didn’t catch up to her before she yanked open a door. Neither one of us could stop her as she raised her pistol and fired it into the lab. We found a zombie in a lab coat slumped over against a work table sporting a bullet hole in it’s head. Seemingly unfazed, Beth moved around the lab taking inventory.

“Damn it, Beth. BJ could have taken care of that one quietly. Do you want to bring every zombie in the building down on us?”

Ignoring her brother’s ire, Beth just said, “You two can start with that electron microscope.”

Bert just sighed at my raised eyebrows and made his way over to the microscope Beth had indicated. Though they don’t take up entire rooms anymore, the three-foot-tall device wasn’t easy to move. In the end, we had to tie a rope around it and lowered it down an elevator shaft to the first floor. After about two hours of work, and dispatching half a dozen zombies that Beth’s gunshot eventually attracted, we got all the research equipment Beth wanted loaded into the truck we were using. Before leaving, we located most of the isolation supplies we would need in order to save time when we came back for it. And so we could leave Beth behind.

While Bert and I unloaded the equipment in the front of our building, Beth kept the zombies occupied in the alley behind the building with the R/C truck and monkey. It was a long day, and hopefully it will be worth it.

Barnett Jane

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com. The story continues in my new novel, Dance Of The Immortals.)

Back at it!

I left this blog unattended for much longer than I had planned.  But I have finished, and published, my second novel in The Immortal Virus series, and will now continue Barnett Jane’s story.  I have some more ideas for this blog that involve The Immortal Virus universe, but for the time being, BJ needs to get off his ass and back into survival mode.  I apologize for the extended break.

Scott A. Mehlman

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com. The story continues in my new novel, Dance Of The Immortals.)

Writing overload

I apologize for not posting anything for the past week.  It’s not writer’s block, it’s actually more an opposite type of problem.  I’ve taken so many projects on, that I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed and have too many ideas bouncing around inside my head.  So I’m going to take a short break from this blog.  For those of you following the adventures of Barnett Jane, fear not, I will continue the story again in January.  This break is only temporary while I get another project temporarily wrapped up.

This other project is my JAEGER series.  I currently have five issues of this story available on Amazon, issue #6 is complete and just needs editing and a cover, and issue #7 is nearing completion.  Once #7 is done, I will take a couple months off from JAEGER while I get back to work on my second novel.  Again, this break will only be temporary, and I promise I won’t leave too much up in the air for the few of you who are regular readers.  I do appreciate those of you who are enjoying JAEGER, as I am, and will find a way to pay you back for your patience and loyalty.

As for Book 2 of The Immortal Virus trilogy, I have been working on it, but most of it still resides inside my head.  Since this blog is an extension of the trilogy, it will be much easy to work on both projects if I temporarily set JAEGER aside.  I pretty much know what’s to come in Book 2, so the layoff from JAEGER shouldn’t be too long.  I’m still relatively new to this writing thing and I’m constantly learning what I’m capable of and what my limits are; so once again, thank you for your patience.

I know that there are a few of you who have read everything I’ve put out, and you guys are awesome(particularly those of you who aren’t even related to me).  For those who haven’t read everything, and need something to fill the time until I continue the story here, the links below will get you to my other work.

 

Thank you for your support,

Scott A. Mehlman

 

The Immortal And The Dead

JAEGER Issue #1: The Straw…

JAEGER Issue #2: With Great Power Comes What?!?

JAEGER Issue #3: What Goes Up

JAEGER Issue #4: Meanwhile, Back At The Office

JAEGER Issue #5: The Hole In The Wall Gang

 

DAY 36

You know how in many of the old science fiction/monster movies there is a scientist/doctor that runs up to the alien/monster and says something to the effect, “No!  We can’t kill it.  We need to try to communicate with it, study it, learn from it.”  And then, inevitably, the scientist/doctor gets killed by the thing.  Well, it seems that Beth is that kind of doctor, though she hasn’t gotten killed; yet.  While Bert and I were out getting lumber yesterday, and this morning while we were getting it situated on the roof where we wanted to build the pigeon house, Beth was going door to door looking for zombies in our building.

I hadn’t actually expected her to go looking for them when I suggested it, but now there are several apartments with big Xs on the doors indicating that there are zombies inside.  Beth now wants Bert and I to set up a couple apartments as isolation rooms with glass doors that will allow her to observe the zombies inside.  She explained that the more we know about them, the better we’ll be able to deal with them in the future.  I couldn’t really argue with this, but actually keeping some of them around to experiment with seemed like asking for trouble.  Beth of course pointed out that these zombies were already in the building, and knowing exactly where they were would make us that much safer.  Again, I couldn’t argue.

If we’re going to keep some of the damn things around on purpose though, I was going to make sure none of us got killed on accident.  I want to make certain that there are several layers of protection between Beth’s lab rats and us.  First, we are going to keep them at least two floors below us.  The zombies don’t handle stairs very well, so the more the better.  Whichever floor we choose, the stairwell doors are going to have glass in them so we can look before entering the floor.  Next, we are going to add one of those cage doors to the elevator so that if any get loose, they won’t be able to get to us when the elevator doors open.

Rather than leaving the zombies to roam the entire apartment, we are going to keep them in a bedroom, and the bedroom door will have an observation window in it.  The main apartment doors will also be fitted with windows in case the zombies get out of their rooms.  Once all of that is in place, then Beth can begin studying the damn things, and I might feel relatively safe.  But I might add another set of doors of some sort to the hallways, just in case.

Bert and I spent the rest of the day laying out the plans for Beth’s zombie observation labs, and figuring out what we’ll need and where we can get it.  We realized that most of the things we’ll need would be available at the hospital along with everything else Beth wanted.  I asked Bert, when Beth wasn’t nearby, what he thought his sister’s motivation was for all of this experimenting.  He seemed to take her at her word when she said that all she wanted was to know the enemy better.  I asked him if he thought she was trying to find some sort of cure for the zombies and he waved the idea off as nonsense; even before I had hooked up with them Beth believed that there was no fixing what had happened to those people who were infected.  I was nervous to put forth the other possible motivation Beth might have, but it had to be considered.

Before I lost my nerve, I asked Bert, “Do you think that there is any chance that Beth might be trying to find a way to get the virus to work better?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Now that she has met me, and believes that the virus was intended to make everyone like me, but wasn’t ready to be released yet, could she be trying to fix it so that it will work on both you and her?”

“That’s ridiculous,” Bert scoffed.

“Is it?  The idea of being virtually immortal could be very enticing, particularly to someone getting older.  And even more so considering it is apparently possible.”

“That is not the kind of person my sister is,” Bert said.  But he had hesitated briefly before saying it.

“So the fact that she seems quite impatient for us to get that equipment for her doesn’t bother you?”

“Not at all,” Bert replied.  “What you need to understand is that she is a doctor, a cardiac surgeon.  Beth is used to a very high-stress environment where she literally held people’s lives in her hands.  When something needed to be done, it had to be done right away, without questions, and without mistakes.  After the pandemic hit, there was nothing she could do about it.  And when we both survived, she was suddenly out of work with nothing to do.

“But after a few days, she realized that there was still a virus that needed to be investigated, and she threw herself into it.  Meeting you filled in a few gaps for her, but she still hasn’t solved the problem.  Maybe she is looking for a cure, though she told me it was virtually impossible, maybe she is trying to find a way to make it less deadly or more effective, I don’t know.  What I do know is that working on the virus, for whatever reason, is the only thing keeping her sane.  So I’m going to do what I can to help her.

“Your concerns might be valid, to a certain degree, but as long as we keep her in check, like with the safety precautions you’ve suggested, you have nothing to worry about.  It’s a crazy world we’re living in now, and we’re all doing what we can to remain relatively sane and survive.  But I’ll talk to her and see if I can’t get her to ease up on the surgeon’s attitude a bit.”

What he said seemed reasonable.  I suppose I don’t need to be overly concerned about my wellbeing, at least here in the building.  But I’m still going to keep an eye on Beth.  Those crazy scientists who want to communicate with the aliens often got a lot of other people killed as well.

 

BJ

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

DAY 35

Bert and I headed back to the hospital to check out my zombie lure and disperse plan.  With the lack of humans and their constant and often cacophonous background noise, we didn’t have to get very close to know that the chainsaws had run out of fuel.  When we were about four blocks from the hospital, there was an obvious increase in the number of zombies walking the streets.  This meant that my plan was working, but it also meant that just getting to the hospital could be difficult, and potentially dangerous.

Drawing once again on my limited physics knowledge, I knew that an object in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted on by an outside force.  Applying this to zombies, from what I have seen, and Bert agreed; the zombies appear to walk in a more or less straight line unless something attracts their attention.  I have also observed that they do sleep on occasion.  I’m not sure if they follow normal human sleep cycles, but they will just stop moving, sit down, or sometimes just kind of collapse, and go to sleep.  When they wake up, they get up and start walking in whatever direction they happen to be facing.  So the trick was to get the zombies to leave the area of the hospital; preferably all in the same direction.

Bert circled around until we were south of the hospital campus.  He then began sounding the SUV’s horn and attracting the zombies.  When it appeared that they were all moving in our direction, or at least all of the ones we could see, he drove further south a few blocks and hit the horn again.  While most of the zombies were just sort of shuffling in our direction, a few of the healthier ones were moving at more of a trot.  Bert allowed them to get within 100 yards or so, and then took off again.  We did this a couple more times, and then swung out of sight of the horde.

The idea was that once the horde started moving south, it would continue in that direction until something else attracted its attention.  This would also carry it away from where we were living.  The other issue we wanted to avoid has to do with the geography of Seattle.  Though the zombies do drink water when they find it, they don’t seem to be able to handle the concept of large bodies of deep water.  Seattle is bordered by Puget Sound on the west, Lake Washington on the east, and the Lake Washington Canal to the north.

Bert told me he has seen zombies walk straight into Puget Sound, become completely disoriented, and then drown.  The problem is, they don’t stay drowned.  The zombies will float, face down, for varying amounts of time, and then suddenly revive.  They thrash around in the water for a few seconds, or a few minutes, and then drown again.  This cycle can go on indefinitely until they happen to drift close enough to shore to be able to walk out again.  It makes fishing difficult because while still, the fish can be attracted to the bodies, but once they revive it scares them off.  If you get an entire horde to walk into the lake or the Sound like a bunch of lemmings, who knows what kind of effect it will have on the fish, not to mention the water itself.

We gave the hospital a wide berth to avoid attracting any stragglers back our way, and decided to give them another day to clear the area before we went back in.  Again, Beth wanted quicker results.  I told her if she really needed to study something, I hadn’t cleared the entire building yet so there would still be zombies in some of the apartments she could play with.  Bert didn’t particularly like this suggestion, but it got Beth off my back for the time being.

In the afternoon, Bert went with me in the forklift to a lumberyard for materials to build a pigeon coop up on the roof.  He liked the idea of having another source of fresh protein besides fish, and he was also more knowledgeable than me about carpentry and building things in general.  We made it back without incident, but I swore I saw the asshole’s red BMW parked on a street near our building.  I couldn’t be certain if it was the same one, or if it had always been parked there, but we were going to have to start taking note of what belonged in the general area of our building.

 

BJ

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

DAY 34

When I asked my new neighbor, Dr. Beth, if she had a theory as to why the zombies didn’t attack one another, she said it was possible that since they’re entire brain was longer functioning properly, it could be that they were no longer producing certain amino acids, and that made them somehow taste “wrong” to each other.  Beth also suggested that the virus working inside them could have that effect as well.  When I told her that I had been bitten, chewed on was what I had actually said, she told me it would require further study and handed me a list of equipment she needed from the hospital.  I believe that was her way of saying, “I don’t know, stop bothering me, kid.”

Bert and I headed out in his Lexus GX.  Our first stop was right around the corner at one of UW’s neighborhood clinics.  The clinic was on the second floor of a seven-story building, and one look through the window on the first floor told us that getting to the clinic would be difficult at best.  Dead littered the floor, and many of those visible had been, to one extent or another, eaten.  We could also see at least a few zombies in various states of health.  I could only assume that at some point even zombies would refuse to eat rotting meat.  We decided to try the hospital, but I had less than high hopes for getting in.

The problem was that as soon as people started getting sick, they went to see doctors.  Hospitals, urgent care centers, clinics, private practices, and even some nursing and medical assistant schools were overrun with people who had contracted the virus.  There was nothing anyone could do about it though, and most of those people died waiting and hoping for a miracle.  But the problem now was that those places were all infested with zombies, and trying to get in to get anything could be suicide.

The nearest major hospital was the Swedish Medical Center, and Bert and I made our way there without too much difficulty.  We only had to drive past the place to see that we were going to be returning to Beth empty-handed.  But I did want to try something out before going back.  I had Bert drive us to a nearby hardware store, and I picked up four metal garbage cans and four gas-powered chainsaws.  Bert’s first guess when he saw what I wanted was that I was going to start collecting zombie heads.  After filling each of the chainsaws about half way, we went back to the hospital.

Like most hospitals, Swedish was made up of several buildings covering a fairly large area.  I had Bert drive as close to the main entrance as possible, and shot out the windows with my shotgun.  We raced away and stopped about 200 yards from the entrance.  I placed one of the garbage cans in the middle of the street, started a chainsaw, and then dropped it into the can.  It was ridiculously loud and began attracting zombies immediately.  We did the same thing to three of the other buildings around the hospital campus, and then pulled to a safe distance and watched for a short time.

It appeared to be working; of course it was also attracting zombies that hadn’t been in the hospital, but I thought it was a good start.  I wasn’t sure how long the chainsaws would run for, but once they did stop, the zombies should disperse leaving at least the first floors of the buildings empty.  Bert liked the plan, Beth wasn’t as enthusiastic, but she was impatient to continue her work.  I am not willing to take any unnecessary risks just so she can satisfy her curiosity.  We’ll see how this goes.

 

BJ

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

DAY 33

I’ll do my best to explain Beth’s theory on what’s been happening.  She did say it would require further study and testing, but it sounds reasonable, and a bit disturbing.  We did go back to get the rest of her equipment from the boat, but now that she has more room and a reliable source of power, she wants to go out and get more to continue her work on the virus.

Beth said that it is in fact a virus, and that it appears to be a strain of the influenza virus.  But this strain is either highly mutated, or has been genetically altered.  Beth suspects the latter, and believes that it was altered for a specific purpose.  That purpose had been unclear to her until she met me.

Beth explained that a certain small percentage of the population would have been immune to the virus.  This immunity would also have some genetic component, which explained why she and her brother were not infected.  She said that if their parents had been alive, one or the other would likely have been immune as well.  Beth and Bert had managed to get a blood sample from one of the zombies, and Beth was then able to isolate the virus.  She said that when she compared the zombie’s blood to mine, both samples showed that the virus was still active, and apparently continuing to do what it had been designed to do; keep us alive.

When I told Beth that after I had received a serious injury, like when her brother shot me, I quickly became feverish and achy, and the area around the wound would itch.  She surmised that this was the virus kicking into overdrive to help repair the damage.  Beth wasn’t certain how it was doing that yet, but she also believes that my near constant hunger was another side effect of the virus working to keep me healthy.  This would also explain why the zombies were always trying to eat and why, though most appeared to be wasting away, they weren’t actually starving to death.  It explained why you could shoot them and it wouldn’t kill them, and why the ones that fed regularly appeared to be obviously healthier.

Beth’s theory on why shooting the zombies in the head killed them was that since the brain controlled all of the body’s functions, destroying it kept the virus from being able to do its job.  Stopping the heart didn’t prevent the brain from working, and the virus was still able to function and repair that damage.  But this was one of things Beth wanted to study more carefully before she could be certain about it.  What she did seem pretty sure of was that the zombies and I appeared to be alike in all respects, with the sole exception being that I still had a fully functioning brain and the zombies seemed to be operating on pure, basic instinct.

All of this led me to ask that, if the virus was healing me, or helping me to heal rapidly, would the virus keep me from aging?  She didn’t seem to want to give me an answer to that without doing more tests, but she did say that it seemed to be a possibility.  So I also asked how long could I live, assuming I don’t get shot in the head?  This is what she was guessing that the virus had been intended for; someone, somewhere, had been experimenting on how to slow down, stop, or reverse the effects of aging.  There would never be any way to say for sure what had happened, but somewhere along the line they had screwed up, and now most of the Earth’s population was either dead, or a fucking zombie.

So what does that make me?  Am I just a zombie with a high IQ?  Am I immortal?  If I am like the zombies, then that wouldn’t be technically correct since a bullet to the head should kill me.  Definitely not testing that out if I can help it.  So am I doomed to walk the Earth until someone gets off a shot at my skull, or I just get tired of living take myself out?  I guess it would be better to have some answers.  I guess…

 

Barnett Jane

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

DAY 32

I woke up this morning pissed off.  It’s one thing to get gut-shot by a trio of assholes, but it’s completely unacceptable to then get shot by an old fart on a fishing boat when all I was trying to do was wave hello.  So I hopped into my bag-ass forklift and headed back to the marina.  I was armed at the time he shot me, though I wasn’t waving my weapons around, and I was going down there armed this time, but it wasn’t my intention to pick a fight.  All I really wanted was an explanation; if the old bastard didn’t want to work with me that would be fine, but that doesn’t mean he can just shoot anyone who stops by to say hello.

I didn’t want to give the guy an opportunity to just start shooting at me again, so I thought I’d try playing it smarter this time around.  Granted, it shouldn’t require a bullet to the stomach for me learn the right and wrong way to approach a person, but this new world didn’t come with an instruction manual.  After I did my zombie wrangling routine, I stopped at the police car and removed the radio and antenna, and then hooked them up in the forklift.  The guy’s boat should have a radio in it, so if the police radio and boat radio worked together, maybe he would be willing to talk to me from a distance.

I took a chance and headed back up the freeway.  There were only a few zombies left up there and the forklift made quick work of them.  I was coming to the conclusion that the forklift was going to be a much better vehicle for getting around in; with its four-foot tall tires and ability to lift and move heavy objects, all I needed to do was hook a trailer up to the back and maybe replace the windows with bullet-proof glass, and then I’d be set.  There was a nice view of the bay from where I sat, and I easily spotted the boat.  I brought a pair of binoculars with me (I was never a Boy Scout, though slowly but surely I’m learning how to be prepared), and got a closer look at the man.

He must have heard me forklifting the zombies (sounds do carry nowadays), because he was standing on the back of his boat looking back at me through his own binoculars.  I reached into the cab, pulled out the radio handset, and held it up.  I couldn’t make out the look on his face, but he seemed to be considering his options.  He turned towards the cabin as if he was talking to someone, and when I looked, I saw a head peek up and quickly disappear.

I watched him walk to the cabin.  He stepped inside for a second and then came out with a small dry erase board.  He held it up and it said, “CB Channel 19.”  I flipped my radio to that channel, and watch him grab his own handset.

He seemed to be waiting, so I started out, “Hello.  I wasn’t sure if this radio would work.”

“I have a CB radio as well as a marine radio,” he said flatly.

“Great.  So why the hell did you shoot me two days ago?” I asked.

“Well, I wasn’t sure that I had.”

“You got me; in the stomach.  So why the hell did you do it?  I was just waving to you.”

“We had some problems with some other people.  There were three of them and they shot at us.  I was afraid you might with them.”

Knowing exactly whom they were talking about I asked, “Were they in a red BMW?”

“As a matter of fact they were.”  He sounded wary when he said this.

“I’m not with them,” I explained.  “Those assholes shot me too.  I’m getting pretty sick of getting shot.”

“How is it you’re still alive if you’ve been shot twice?”

“That might be hard to explain over the radio.”

“Try me.”

Rather than answering his question, I asked him, “Why don’t you tell me how many others are on the boat with you?”

“What makes you think there’s someone else here?”

“Um, you said ‘we’ a minute ago.  I thought I saw you talking to someone, and I saw someone stick their head up in the cabin.”

He didn’t reply for a minute, but he finally said, “It’s my sister.”

“She’s the only one with you?”

“Yes.”

“Can we do this face to face?  I’ll admit I’m still kind of pissed-off about you shooting me, but since I’m okay, I promise I won’t try to hurt either you or your sister.  I’ve been alone for a month now, and I really would like a little non-violent human contact.”

There was another pause, and I could see him talking, presumably to his sister.  When he came back on he asked me, “My sister would like to know how it is you were shot in the stomach two days ago and are fine now?”

“Why is it important?”

“Besides the fact that it sounds impossible, my sister is a doctor and wants to hear your answer before we come in.”

“Fine.”  I spent the next 30 minutes or so telling them what has happened to me since I woke up.  The sister interrupted once after I told them I had in fact gotten sick and recovered.  I also had to stop once to kill a zombie that wandered up the on-ramp.  But once I had gotten through it, they agreed to come into the docks and meet with me.

It was incredibly tense at first, on my part because they had already shot me once, and on their part because they weren’t entirely convinced that I wouldn’t retaliate.  But I showed them all my scars, I was developing quite the collection, told them about my living conditions, which seemed to be much better than theirs, and they told me about themselves, and we began to slowly trust one another.  I finally invited them to join me and they agreed.

Albert, “Bert to his friends”, who is 62, and his sister Elizabeth, “Beth”, who is 58 and before the pandemic had been a cardiac surgeon, followed me back to my building.  Once inside, Beth had explained that she had been trying to figure out what had happened, and that though the news reports had called it a flu pandemic, the zombies wandering around sort of proved that to be incorrect.  She said that the fact that I had contracted the virus and survived, and that I was showing the rapid healing abilities, could go a long way towards helping her figure it out.  Beth had brought some of her equipment with her and wanted a blood sample, and she wanted to see my ability to heal.  I agreed, I wanted to know what was going on as much as she did, and I let her draw some blood and cut my thumb.

Bert and Beth are set up in the apartment next door, and the solar panels seem to be able to handle both apartments.  I glad to finally have some company, but I’m a little nervous about becoming Beth’s guinea pig.  She said she now had a theory and would explain it to me tomorrow after she saw what my thumb looked like.  Hopefully this will work out.

 

BJ

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead, on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

DAY 31

After the shit has hit the fan is generally not the best time to figure out what you’re made of.  By definition, once it has hit the fan, you’re pretty much screwed, unless you’re fully prepared for it, or unless you’re lucky and find yourself in the position I’m in.  I still don’t completely understand what it is the virus has done to me, but it has given me a set of “do-overs.”  It’s likely that there are not an unlimited number of them, but it seems that as long as I don’t fuck up too badly, I’ll live to fuck up another day.

I didn’t get a chance to make an entry yesterday because I was recovering from my fuck up.  There are days when it doesn’t pay to get out of bed, even if your sheets are well past the prescribed cleaning time.  Who knew laundry was going to be an issue after the apocalypse?  But keeping my whites white is a problem for another day.  Finding a way to move cars around was the task I set out for yesterday, and I had thought I had it figured out.

I live just north of downtown Seattle, which sits on Puget Sound, or more specifically, Elliot Bay.  Most of the shoreline, from where I live through downtown Seattle, is taken up by dockage for large ships and ferries.  And just south of downtown is the Port of Seattle, a large shipping and freight facility that always looks like it’s full of those big metal shipping containers.  I figured that if I wanted to find a forklift that would pick up a car; that would be the place to find one.

It was an easy drive to get there; just hopped on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, dodged some zombies, and two miles later I was there.  The Port is on the opposite side of the freeway from CenturyLink Field.  I drove right in, something I would never have been allowed to do before the pandemic.  There were tractor/trailers all over the place.  There was a point, just after the pandemic reached the US, that the President declared martial law, and most of the states tried to close their borders to prevent the virus from spreading; it didn’t help.  I guessed that most of the truck drivers decided they weren’t going to be able to get anywhere, so they just shut down and waited to see what would happen.  As I drove past the trucks, every once in a while, a gaunt, red-eyed face would pop up.

After about ten minutes of driving around, I found what I wanted.  When I pulled up next to the big forklift, I realized I hadn’t quite thought my plan through.  I was fairly certain the thing would lift a car, and the street in front of my building was wide enough to maneuver it around, but I hadn’t figured out how I was going to get it, and my pick-up truck, home.  There weren’t any zombies in the immediate area, so I hopped out of my truck, and climbed up into the cab of the forklift, which was fortunately enclosed.

The good news was that the keys were in it.  The bad news was that it wouldn’t start.  It turns out that if you can find the battery, which sounds far easier than it was, you can jumpstart a forklift from a pick-up truck.  I had far more fun figuring out how to drive the forklift than I thought I would.  This particular forklift has very large truck tires and is articulated in the middle so that it can turn in a very small radius.  The only real issues with the forklift are that it’s loud, and it beeps when you put it in reverse.  That being said, the thing is really good for killing zombies.

It took me about an hour to get really comfortable with all the controls and how the thing handled.  It ran on diesel fuel, and while driving around I found the maintenance shack and a hand pump I could use to fill it.  No more siphoning by mouth!  Finally, I decided I liked the pick-up and didn’t want to leave it, so I picked it up with my forklift.  Again, I hadn’t thought my plan though as well as I should have.

Driving a forklift around while carrying a load is a bit different than when it’s unloaded.  This forklift is bigger than most, and I had no problem seeing over the pick-up as I started on my two mile trip back home.  I also had no problem seeing the zombies that had gathered on the freeway after I had passed through the first time.  There apparently were a bunch in the area that I hadn’t seen, but they had heard me when I drove through earlier.  I hit the brakes, which were surprisingly good for such a heavy vehicle, and I guess I didn’t have the forks tipped back far enough because my brand new pick-up truck, with only about 100 miles on it, went sliding off the forks, hit the ground, and flipped onto its roof.

After banging my head against the steering wheel a few times, I had to turn around and go back and take the long way home.  I thought it would be wiser than trying to plow through the hundred or so zombies I could see.  So I’m taking Alaskan Way, which runs right along the waterfront, and I spot a boat pulling into the docks.  There’s a small marina right next to where the cruise ships dock, it holds maybe 30 boats, and I’ve never really paid much attention to it, but I believe it’s the only one around downtown Seattle.  So I stop the forklift, make sure there are no zombies around, and step out of the cab and wave to the guy.  I figured he was probably out fishing, the Sound would be a good source of fresh food, and maybe he would be someone I could work with.

I heard the engines stop, and see an older man step out of the cabin, and then he raises a gun and shoots at me.  I must have the kind of face that make people want to kill me.  I never considered myself either particularly good looking or ugly, but I didn’t think I had the kind of face that needed shooting.  As I ducked back into the cab, I felt something like a punch in the gut, which I had unfortunately felt before, and clearly remember not enjoying.  But I made it out of there and back home.

Obviously I wasn’t up to moving cars around yesterday, but I healed and did get it done today.  There is now a solid wall of cars, two deep, blocking everything but the front doors.  There is also a new scar on my stomach.  I’m not sure I like this new Seattle where everyone shoots first and asks questions later, it used to be such a friendly place.  I also think I need to find a bulletproof vest; sure I can survive getting shot, but it hurts like a son-of-a-bitch.

 

Barnett Jane

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

DAY 29

It all keeps coming back to books.  Ever since people developed written language, they have been writing things down.  All the knowledge humans possess is written down somewhere.  Computers made accessing that knowledge a bit easier, but as I have learned the hard way, computers are pretty useless without electricity.  Getting information out of books doesn’t require power, even at night.  The hard part now is getting to the information.  I know that before the pandemic, there were a lot of people who were preparing for something like this, stockpiling food and weapons and building special shelters.  I wonder if any of them were stockpiling books?  My guess is that most of these survivalists overlooked that.

I went back to the mall.  The man was still lying dead on the staircase.  Back in the bookstore, I got a book on raising pigeons, one on basic carpentry, one on edible and medicinal plants, one on chemistry, one on auto repair, and just as I was deciding to wrap things up, I spotted a book on ham radios.  I wanted a way to try to communicate with other people, but I completely forgot about radios; not the kind that just play music, but the ones people talk to each other on.  I have no doubt that most children have never even heard of ham radios, and I’m not sure where the hell I’m going to find one, but the book I found also covers building your own.

The rest of my day was spent finding vehicles near my building with keys in them that I could use to block the windows in front of my building.  It was a tedious, and sometimes scary process trying to find the cars, then lure zombies away, then get the cars in place, and then do it all again, but I did get it done.  I still want to stack the cars up, so my priority tomorrow is going to be finding a way to do that.  My evening is going to be spent reading.  I hope those assholes are having as much difficulty with all of this as I am.

 

BJ

 

(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead on Amazon.com: The Immortal And The Dead)

 

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