When you aren’t feeling any pain … or at least what pain my body may have been feeling wasn’t noticeable enough to make it through the haze of whatever dope Iggy had shot me up with … the passage of time doesn’t always register. I was just sort of zoning, taking out the occasional zombie that got close enough to momentarily reconnect my survival instincts, and had no idea that it had been a lot longer than “a little bit” since Iggy and his crew had left. They had promised to send someone for me and that was all that was in my mind. God really does watch after children and fools … and given my age I obviously don’t fit in the child category these days.
Slowly the sun changed position and while the dope hadn’t worn off, I was no longer in total ga-ga land. I was still happy, happy. It takes a long time for me to metabolize out of a drunk; I’ve been known to feel the effects of a couple of glasses of the real hard stuff for twenty four hours or better … then I crash royally and you do not want to be around me. But happy, happy or not it finally penetrated that things weren’t as they should be. I was already trying to unweave the cobweb in my brain when a shell landed very near my “safe haven” and rocked me enough to make me say, “Hey! That wasn’t nice a’ tall!”
After the fourth shell I knew I would have to move whether I wanted to or not; the question was where. The sun was again setting and as I turned my face into the acrid breeze that cooled my sweat soaked and feverish leg I noticed that a new vehicle had crashed near my position. It looked like a cannibalized and then retrofitted step van. It was on its side and I watched as a zombie started dragging a detached leg away from the open rear door like it was looking for a doggie bag.
I knew the victim of the attack would have bled out by now and I knew I needed to change position. The van seemed the likeliest location short term. If nothing else it would give me a vantage point I was lacking. I hobbled as bad as a shambler but I finally made it to the van. Sure enough there were a couple of dead ‘uns inside the back of the van and on the other side as well but they were dead dead, as in not reanimating, due to severe head trauma. Actually the legless guy may have been from a self-inflicted head shot but I can’t say for sure and refuse to spend a lot of time ruminating on it. I’ve got enough personal nightmares without taking on the bad dreams of strangers.
The infecteds were getting thick. I still wasn’t feeling any real worry. At that moment I was probably certifiable at the very least. I know Scott and the kids would have been certifiable if they had known what I was doing. See, the gun that Iggy and crew had left me had a full magazine but no extras. They really had meant to come back for me but the situation changed on them. I don’t hold anything against them though I can’t say the same for Scott and Iggy himself. Iggy is a little messed up and carrying more than his fair share of guilt around like a talisman.
After I heard the click of the gun as it emptied I thought, “Rot roh Shaggy, we’s in some trouble now boy.”
I started casting about in the van for the deceased men’s guns, hoping that they’d have a few bits of ammo left in them. All I found were these weird looking rifle things. That stupid song “Star Trekking across the USA” started floating through my still high as a kite brain. The guns were big and black. From their shape I knew you held them the same way you would a long gun … rifle or shotgun … only they were bigger and boxier. On the side in barely discernible ridges on a small metal plate were the letters “PHaSR”.
“Oh crap … where’s Kirk and the gang when you need them. I’d even go for scrawny Sulu or Chekov at this point.”
Out of nowhere there was a scuffle at the opening I had crawled in through and I realized talking out loud in the middle of a zombie fest wasn’t exactly the brightest thing I’d ever done. Instinct had me pointing the “rifle” at the infected and I pulled the trigger.
I didn’t realize that anything was happening at first as there was no sound or click. But when the line of burned flesh appeared on the infected’s face I figured that something was happening so I aimed and held it still as I could on the moving target. It wasn’t instantaneous but it was close. The infected dropped and stopped moving.
Not too trusting that the thing really was sanitized I eased up on it. I didn’t even need to turn it over however.
“Oh, Scott and Glenn are going to wet … their … pants,” I thought.
There was a neat little burn hole on the back of the infected’s skull. I knew if I had bothered to turn it over there would be a matching one on the thing’s forehead.
Giggling slighting I muttered, “A freaking laser. How cool is that? No, wait … a phaser! Scotty beam me up one of these babies with a bottle of Aldebaran whiskey.”
I know, I know. Anyone reading this in the future probably has no clue what I was babbling about. Suffice it to say that at one point in my life I was a total nerdette and could give most folks a run for their money on the trivia for a certain sci fi franchise. Living like we did, opportunities to insert meaningless quotes from a story based in the 24th century didn’t exactly come about often … much to the gratitude of my children. Since this one had come along I certainly wasn’t going to pass it up.
And then I saw it. I had a hard time not giggling with glee. The twin of the van I was currently in had taken hit in its rear axle and it rolled to a hard stop against the downed remains of one of the helicopters that had bothered us earlier in the battle. Men and women jumped out of the vehicle but only one of them lived long enough to reach the top of the van … well almost reached the top; he was pulled down from the ladder and his screams didn’t last long.
Still singing, this time “It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead, Jim;
it's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead,” I started using the PHaSR in my hand to clear a path for me to hobble over to the van. Climbing was so not fun. In fact the fun was so not that my happy, happy dissipated enough that I was beginning to think it was pretty stupid to make myself such an obvious target. Plus I realized that whatever was on top of the van had a shelf life. What I mean is that I realized that the contraption that reminded me a bit of Glenn’s cannons without the hose attachment was hooked up to a bank of ordinary looking car batteries.
There was no time left to kick myself for being an intoxicated idiot. The van was getting surrounded and I knew that I was not going to be running to safety. So as shells exploded off and on all around me I thought, “In for a penny, in for a pound.”
It didn’t take long for my happy, happy to come back. I realized quickly that I didn’t have to completely sanitize the infecteds, all I really needed to do for my immediate safety was disable them. Man, it was like a hot knife through butter with heads rolling this way and that … at least for as long as the batteries held out, which unfortunately wasn’t near as long as I needed them to.