But with a Whimper

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Wrecking Ball » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:04 pm

Have fun, PB. Don't get bitten by any staggering drunks while away! We need MOAR after all. :wink:
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by kremor » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:22 am

Least you left us with a nice closure to a subplot, and not a cliffhanger hehe.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:15 am

Henry was still patting himself on the back that Saturday, having played the jealousy card to provoke Madeline into getting territorial over Jay, and whatever happened after that would be up to them. In that part of the play, Henry had already played his part.

But that was still minor compared to other matters that dominated his time that day, and not the least of those was scanning the usual three newspapers three or four times looking for anything that seemed even remotely linked to the dark issue behind the scenes, of which he knew more than made him comfortable. But those three or four scans revealed nothing out of the ordinary. There had been a triple murder in East St. Louis, Illinois a week earlier that had not made the Albuquerque Journal, but when the suspect fired on police attempting to apprehend him and was fatally wounded, the suspect turned out to be black and the police officer white, and of course, that made headlines across the country (some media-whoring self-proclaimed black civil rights leader had seen to that). The governor of Virginia was attempting damage control after being accused of engaging in sexual relations with his own female campaign manager, some untalented A-list actor was bitching about the war in Afghanistan, and an earthquake killed seventy some-odd people in Indonesia.

Business as usual.

But nothing about what was bothering him. Nothing about Deputy Edward Hernandez, and certainly nothing about the San Miguel Sheriff’s Department taking out that poor kid and shooting him, and just the thought of that made Henry feel sick to his stomach. It was by far the worst part of this whole thing, but an increasingly close second was the fact that it could happen to a great many more if Hernandez wasn’t found soon.

But then, Henry couldn’t do anything about that from where he was sitting, there at his dining room table with a cup of coffee (his fifth of the day) and three newspapers spread out in front of him.

Erika couldn’t do anything about it either, but could at least do something about Henry. Someone needed to.

Erika had herself spent much of the day walking around The Written Word, frustrated that they didn’t have any Tony Hillerman books that she hadn’t already read. Instead, she turned to a novel series by some woman named Laurel Hamilton, who (according to this gal she knew at the Griddle) wrote something called ‘vampire porn,’ so Erika regarded that as worth a look. She got back to Henry’s place where she had more or less spent weeks of her life living and flatly asked him about the next day.

“Henry, you scheduled us off for tomorrow too, right?”

“Yeah. Left Bumpy in charge. Why?”

“Well, I sure as hell don’t feel like walking on eggshells around here wondering if you’re about to spot an article that says the goddamned world is ending next week. You’re obsessing, Henry.”

“I know I am, but what else am I supposed to do? You know what could happen, and someone has to be watching for it. If this pops up here again, the six of us are the only ones who know what to do about it, well, seven counting Russ Tillman. Seven of us to protect almost five hundred people. The only way to give us an edge is to know about it as early as possible. If something happens, I need to know. I don’t want to be glued to the fucking newspaper every hour of every day, but what else is there?”

“You know, for being a police chief, you don’t know anything about delegation, do you? Tomorrow, have someone else go through the paper. When we get back, then check your e-mail. Stop putting your life on hold over this. Come to think of it, stop putting my life on hold, too.”

“Wait a minute…’when we get back?’ Get back from where?”

“I want to go down to Albuquerque. Let’s get a hotel for tonight, walk around Old Town tomorrow, maybe the zoo, have a decent dinner, and maybe head back Monday morning. Martin would cover, wouldn’t he?”

“Of course he would.”

“Then put down the damned paper. I’ll call a couple of hotels near Old Town and let’s get out of here. We haven’t done anything together for more than a few hours since my birthday in Taos.”

“What if something happens while we’re gone? What if fifty people stagger into town, stagger like Greg Lemme did?”

“What if they don’t? Come on, Henry. This is getting old. Just come away with me for a day or two.”

Within an hour, they were both in Henry’s truck, heading south to Albuquerque, a trip of about three hours. They checked into the Old Town Sheraton and had dinner that night in La Hacienda, probably the oldest functioning restaurant in the Duke City. Henry and Erika splashed around in the pool and what they did that night in their room should be easy to imagine. Martin, of course, agreed to take Henry’s shift for the next couple of days. His loyal-as-a-hound-dog character simply made that inevitable.

Monday morning, they headed back, both with smiles on their faces. Erika had been right. Henry needed to get out for a day or two and stop worrying about what might be, lest his anxiety eat him alive. They were getting close to Santa Fe on I-25 north when Henry looked out at the desert, his long range vision blurred by the intense heat coming off the rocks and sand. His stress over the immediate future must have been returning, as through the mirages off in the distance, he, for a moment, thought he saw the image of a human form, staggering around, as though drunk.

But looking in the same place for a couple of seconds, the image vanished. It had most likely only been a trick of the heat.

Most likely.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by thebigstick » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:19 am

Not cool PB, not cool at all. :lol:

Who am I kidding we loved it and can't wait to see if it really was the heat out in the dessert or not???
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:57 am

Henry and Erika had returned fairly early on Monday, pulling the truck up to the driveway of Henry’s cabin just after noon. Contrary to what Erika silently expected, Henry did not call the office or rush off to The Written Word to pick up three different newspapers. Red River, New Mexico did not appear to have burned to the ground, been overrun by uncoordinated infected psychopaths, and The Red River Griddle was still open for business. It seemed as though things were still sailing along in their little town as they took a little private time down in the Duke City. They stayed home for the rest of the day, just staying off their feet and doing nothing but watching TV as they prepared themselves for their upcoming abbreviated workweek.

Erika was back on the radio at eight the next morning and Henry was back in his office at the same time, catching up on a few things before heading out on patrol. The newspapers (he was already back in that habit) didn’t say anything unusual, and Nathan Marr still had not sent him any e-mails. Things were, by all appearances, normal. While out (around ten-thirty or so that morning), Henry stopped by to chat about unimportant things with Lew Clancy over at the Rough Rider Saloon, and did a little foot patrol for about an hour after that, and in doing so, ran into Malcolm and Renee Sellers. Their baby boy was now five months old and already beginning to take on some of his mother’s features, and anyone who had ever seen Mal and Renee standing next to each other would have considered that a good thing.

Eleanor Miller seemed quite content behind the counter at The Written Word (not much had changed in the four hours since Henry had last seen her, but he now walked in as the police chief, not another paying customer), and of course, George Sturgis had a piece of uninteresting gossip here and there, but mainly commented on how long it took for Madeline to finally notice that Jay had the potential to be more than a coworker. The Mountaineer had seen many such associations begin, including the one still going between Lawrence Hibbert and Juliet Marlowe being another example.

Over at the High Peak Coffee Shop, which Henry hadn’t visited in a while, he sat down for lunch with Jay sometime around twelve-fifteen.

“Chief, I’ve got to say thanks. That might be the most brilliant idea I’d ever heard, and what’s more, it actually worked.”

“Well, I’d given up on Madeline noticing you on her own. For a cop, she can be oblivious to the obvious. Anyway, how’s it going on that end? I mean, if I’m not getting too personal. But clearly, I’m not against the idea of office romances.”

“Oh, we’re taking it slowly. You know, that was pretty sudden a few days ago at The Mountaineer. We just want to make sure that this isn’t going to be intense for a week and burn out once we get the emotions on the table, you know? We’ve only spoken on the phone a couple of times since then, but tomorrow, I’m taking her to the Griddle for lunch. That’s how we’re going to do it. Take some time, make sure that our eyes are open, that sort of thing.”

“Probably smart. Anyway, how are you going to keep this whole thing about your cousin Sara under the table? You think Madeline will flip out if she finds out that it was all an act?”

“Who knows? If I tell her now, she might. If this thing between Madeline and me goes anywhere, I’ll wait until we’re solid before I tell her about it. Besides, she might even be flattered that I went to those kind of lengths, you know? Aren’t women complimented by that sort of thing? Going that extra mile to get their attention without it becoming stalking? Wasn’t it like that back in your day?”

“Back in my day? How old do you think I am, Jay? I’m thirty-five. My day and yours are the same thing.”

“Oh…”

“Anyway, you know that’s not how it went with Erika and me. In younger years, when I had a thing for a girl, you know what I did about it?”

“What was that?”

“Not much. Just sat around wondering what would be if I had grown any balls. But I did okay for such a shy type. Oh, and if you’re taking Madeline to lunch tomorrow, I have some advice for you. Not as your chief, but certainly as your buddy.”

“Do tell, Chief.”

“Well, this might sound odd, but you two are probably going to be doing all kinds of ‘getting to know you’ type stuff. You’re going to be learning the things about each other that you just don’t find out for yourself on the job. But I know something now that I didn’t know just a couple of weeks ago, even though I sort of suspected it anyway.”

“What’s that?”

“When you’re sitting at the Griddle, remember that anal sex is not an acceptable topic of conversation, especially when your food hasn’t arrived yet.”

“Uh, can you say that again, Sir?”

“Not kidding, Jay. Do not bring up anal sex.”

“Uh, Chief? Just so you’re aware, I wasn’t planning on talking about putting it in her pooper. That…that was some weird advice. I thought you were going to tell me to look her in the eye or something like that.”

“Oh yeah Jay, that too. Look her in the eye, don’t order for her, and all that. But seriously, don’t bring up anal sex.”

“Okay, Chief. I won’t talk about sex in the butt. But I have to ask. Why out of everything in the world would you caution me against that?”

“Well, I can tell you that Madeline doesn’t regard that as a good thing to discuss on a first date. So, don’t bring it up.”

“Gotcha. Wait, how do you know that? How would you know that Madeline doesn’t like talking about butt sex? Holy shit, did you…you nailed her, didn’t you?”

“No Jay. As a matter of fact, I haven’t. Now then…”

“Are you sure? You didn’t screw Madeline? I’ll be damned…you tried to have anal with her, didn’t you?”

“No, we never had sex. Never been involved. Been with Erika for four years, you know. Anyway…”

“I can’t believe you screwed Madeline…in the ass!” Jay was on the verge of breaking out in both tears and insane laughter.

“Jay, I never porked Madeline! Never, never, ever! Please believe me!”

“Just fucking with you, Chief. Seriously though, how the hell can you know about that?”

“Long story. Anyway, you finally got her attention. Don’t fuck it up.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Bearcat » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:50 am

Yay, you're back!
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ronin71XS » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:53 am

Classic!
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Tater Raider » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:01 am

Image

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Wrecking Ball » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:30 am

I wasn’t planning on talking about putting it in her pooper.
I laughed really hard; I'm very immature. :D MOAR pl0x.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by dwr cymru » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:24 pm

Damn the slow burn......

Quality as usual Ponyboy, glad to see a new story
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by WhoShotJR » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:39 pm

Very good character development. Looking forward to MOAR.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by darius379 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:59 pm

Sir you are one of the most entertaing writers, one of the main reasons i like this site so much. I believe i have about 7 posts so i feel i cannot say i have earned more, but at least the letter M. thank you
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Tater Raider » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:02 pm

Pony needs to get an agent. Seriously.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:54 am

Lunch with Jay had been somewhat amusing, if only for the rather odd yet strangely relevant advice Henry had imparted to him. But as Monday came and went, nothing of note happened, unless one wished to count Erika being in a much better mood than she had been on Saturday morning.

Tuesday around nine in the morning, Henry laid out his three newspapers on his desk for a quick perusal before some time on patrol. It took him a few minutes to realize that the same story had made the front page on all three. The article on the front page of the Farmington Daily Times was essentially an abbreviated version of the article that appeared in both the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican. The articles in both of those papers were identical.

<Article Begins>

Vacationing Family missing from Jemez Campground

A park ranger, making his rounds on the various camping grounds in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, New Mexico has reported that a family of five that had been camping in the area was missing.

Daniel, 39, and Jolene, 38, Maturin were camping in the Jemez with their three children, Kevin, 13, Lucia, 9, and Jeffery, 6, arriving in the afternoon of last Friday, but Park Ranger Christopher Nessman reported that he had found their campground deserted in the early morning on Saturday. No equipment or food appeared to be missing, and subsequent visits to their campground that afternoon and evening revealed that the Maturins had not yet returned. A follow-up visit on Sunday morning showed that the Maturins still had not returned to their camp.

A search party led by the local search and rescue team has been in the Jemez mountains since Monday morning, but still no trace of the Maturin family has been found. Rescue workers are currently hoping to find some clues as to the whereabouts of the Maturins before tomorrow, as a rainstorm is expected to strike the area sometime in the early afternoon.

<Article Ends>

And that was the short version in the Farmington Daily Times. The one in the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican was easily twice as long, and twice as scary to read. He put all newspapers down by twenty past nine. Henry’s gaze had soon after migrated to his office window, from where he could see the leaves of the trees being blown gently by a light wind, an occasional bird flutter by, and the silver-white contrails of an airliner show themselves in a cloudless sky.

A typical peaceful scene in a typical peaceful town, in the state of New Mexico that seemed on the verge of enjoying less and less peace as the weeks clicked by.

Of course, Henry thought, this could be anything. Maybe a serial killer was stalking the mountains above Los Alamos (like that would be much better). Maybe they had just gone out hiking and gotten lost, or the youngest child had wandered off and similarly, the rest of the family had gotten lost. Maybe they were up there, huddled under a tree or in a ravine, wondering when the search and rescue party would find them.

Or maybe they were stumbling around in the trees not far from another like them, and maybe they would still be there if the search and rescue party endeavored to search that far from the camp.

Maybe it was another idiotic prank, like that kid in the balloon from a couple of years back who made national headlines when it was all shown to be a hoax.

Maybe it was a nightmare in the making.

But one thought did nibble on the brain like a parasite. Los Alamos, while not especially close to Red River, was quite a good distance from Las Vegas. Moving at the pace of an inebriated frat boy, there was no way Deputy Hernandez could have reached the Jemez Mountains. Perhaps Henry was jumping the gun and assuming the worst, that something like Hernandez or Greg Lemme was stalking the mountains near Los Alamos. That could easily not be the case, but what if it was? But if this was similar to the cases of Greg Lemme, Martine Dubois, or Edward Hernandez, and Lemme and Dubois were long gone while Hernandez was too far away, what was up there in the Jemez?

Perhaps it didn’t matter so much that they found Deputy Hernandez. Perhaps that out in the outskirts, out in the countryside, or out in the wild, there were several of these diseased psychos, preying on those who wandered away from settled areas or lived on remote properties. Who else was already missing but no one knew? How many drifters or lone wolf bikers were already gone with no one to report their vanishing? This was New Mexico, the great American Southwest, where cities and towns were sometimes dozens of miles apart and a person could stand in a field in the middle of nowhere and literally see nothing man made. This was not New Jersey, where towns ran into each other for several counties, easily leaving a visitor unsure of what town he was even in sometimes. This was a sparsely populated area with miles of mountains and forests, deserts and rivers where human beings had never built towns, Wal-Marts, or mini malls.

Plenty of areas where people could vanish. A missing person in the Land of Enchantment was extremely rare, but the Maturins had now joined that number. And while there were any number of reasons a person could vanish, the timing for the disappearance of an entire family in a campground that tended to be well-used in the summertime was especially unfortunate for Police Chief Henry Dane, who now could easily attach a case like that of Greg Lemme or Martine Dubois to it in any number of ways.

Henry had never met or even heard of the Maturin family before, but now, he would have given anything to see them safe and sound back at home.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:46 am

After a few minutes, Henry forced himself to stop his mental spiral and immediately got on his e-mail account. There was nothing from Nathan Marr, or anyone else for that matter, but over the next hour or so, he refreshed his page about every five or six minutes. It was on the final refresh that suddenly, an e-mail popped up. Of course, it was from Nathan, though it was strangely unrelated to the news article that he had just read, or at least Henry hoped that it truly was.

The subject line simply read, “Update,” rather ambiguous for Nathan.

<Message Begins>

Henry,

You probably haven’t heard this yet, but they found Edward Hernandez. It was a couple of his guys on the San Miguel Country Sheriff’s Department who just happened to run into him on someone’s ranch. The owner doesn’t know about it, or at least no one seems to think he does. They killed him, Henry. They killed him once they saw that it was him. They shot him in the head. This was sometime around sunset yesterday. They had taken his body to Frank’s office and incinerated it. The only problem we have now is that no one will ever know what really happened to him. He’s always going to be on the books as a missing person. That’s going to hurt his wife terribly, but the consequences of her finding out the truth are far more severe.

But admittedly, I am beginning to take note of a rather sad pattern as this crisis continues. We have to fabricate and then perpetuate several small tragedies in order to prevent everyone from learning about one rather far-reaching one. You and I have discussed more than once what might happen if the public in general and the loved ones of the victims in particular were to find out about what is really happening. I must take some time now to thank you for assisting us by keeping a lid on what you know. Not that I think you would find much advantage by revealing it, I know, but still, thank you.

I would like to believe that this is over around here. Martine Dubois is dead, as is that little boy, and now, Deputy Hernandez is as well. That would be all the infected victims we can account for, and all of them are dead. But of course, just as you are concerned with the Greg Lemme infection, I am still concerned that whatever infected Martine Dubois is out there, still spreading this nightmare.

Also, I have read the newspaper this morning and I know about those missing campers in the mountains near Los Alamos. I pray to holy God that this crisis is not what caused them to vanish, but these days, I feel myself ascribing every damned tragedy up to and damned near including the Kennedy assassination to this thing that’s going on. If it turns out that they are our next infected victims, we might have a problem. I met the Los Alamos County Medical Examiner once at a conference in Albuquerque, but that’s about it. I can’t exactly count on him as a source of information. Whatever’s happening around Los Alamos, we’re only going to know what we read in the newspaper or see on TV, just like everyone else. If this is connected in some way to our cases, we’ll most likely never know about it. This is starting to really scare the hell out of me, Henry. I’m not kidding. I’m not sleeping, I barely eat, and I’m afraid of my own shadow. I don’t go outside at night anymore. Can you believe that? Can you believe I said that? I don’t go out at night. What’s next? Crosses on my door or silver bullets, or not saying ‘Candyman’ when I’m shaving in the mirror?

I hope that things are over on my end. I hope Frank never has to deal with this again. But one thing I think we can agree on. It’s still out there. It’s still out there, Henry, and I fear that maybe it’s lurking around somewhere in the Jemez Mountains, and worse than that, I fear that there might be five more, all with the last name ‘Maturin.’

God help us, Henry. God help us all. Whatever happens, don’t let this get you. When people talk about a fate worse than death, I can’t imagine that meaning anything other than this anymore.

Don’t let them get you, Henry. For the love of God, don’t let them get you.

Nathan

<Message Ends>

Hernandez was found and put down, but now a family was missing in the Jemez Mountains.

One door opens, another closes.

A handful of minutes after reading that rather ominous e-mail, Erika came into Henry’s office to drop off a few reports, but left just as quickly, not thinking it wise to disturb him at the moment. It was the first time she had seen him truly oblivious to the outside world while he vigorously cleaned his M1911.

All that Erika knew was that he had gotten some bad news. But the news was at least bad enough to scare him into making sure that his Kimber wouldn’t fail him.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:19 am

Henry did manage to force himself out on patrol that day, but an hour after he had planned. Most of that patrol was from his cruiser. He simply wasn’t in the right frame of mind to try walking around the streets of Red River with a smile on his face, playing Andy Griffith. If he had, then he was afraid that he could snap at any second and scream for the locals to head for the hills, or as far away from New Mexico as they could get before something reached out of the dark with clicking claws to take them the way it had taken Greg Lemme, Martine Dubois, and Edward Hernandez.

If Henry had done so, it would have reminded his parents of a movie that had come out when they were young, but Henry himself had not seen it. He had seen two remakes, the first one coming out in 1978 (Henry saw it on cable sometime in the early 90s), starring Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum. He had also once caught another remake, this one in 1993, starring Forest Whittaker and Gabrielle Anwar. The original, unlike the remakes, showed the protagonist running through the streets, screaming at passing drivers, “They’re here already! You’re next!”

That old movie, of course, was Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

So Henry stayed in his cruiser, unable to interact with those he swore to protect. He did drive by the Red River Griddle, and of course, two cruisers were out front. Henry hoped that Jay hadn’t brought up anal sex. Of course he didn’t.

Henry passed that day in relative isolation, not even bothering to check in with Erika over the radio as often as he perhaps should have. Around three that afternoon, Henry finally realized that there was something he could no longer ignore. Things out there might be escalating all around a population that had no clue that it was even happening. He did, however. He knew exactly what was happening, but the only remaining question about the actual disease was one that he tried to avoid asking himself, but with little success.

Are the infected ones alive or are they truly walking dead bodies?

If the latter was the case, what did that make them? Even in his own mind, Henry couldn’t utter the word. He knew the term. Hell, he knew several, but there was that one that he couldn’t say or even think.

What Henry could no longer ignore was what exactly they would do if a number of those psychos found their way into Red River.

Henry got back to the station around a quarter to five, and immediately walked right up to Erika’s desk.

“Honey, I need you to call the whole gang. Tell them to meet up at my place at six. Tell them that this is important and no one’s ducking out of it unless we get a bomb threat at The Rough Rider or some crap.”

“Okay, Henry. You’re really on edge. You got an e-mail from Nathan, didn’t you?”

“Yes I did. Some deputies from San Miguel County found Hernandez. He was just stumbling around on some ranch. They killed him. They shot him right in the head, I expect. They burned the body and that was it. But God knows what he did before they found him. And a family is missing, up near Los Alamos. A family of five, just gone from their camp. No sign of them.”

“Henry, that could be any number of things. Sometimes, people just vanish for whatever reason. You know that.”

“I know, I know, but now we have a whole new reason why people disappear, and it’s a hell of a lot worse than any other I know of. Call the gang. This can’t wait.”

The gang was assembled at Henry’s place (which was more like Henry and Erika’s place these days) by six on the dot. Henry did notice that Jay and Madeline, still in their uniforms complete with duty belts (just like Henry, Bumpy, and Martin) sat next to each other, which was something of a first. They weren’t holding hands, but it was clear that they felt very comfortable with the other right next to them.

“Listen up, everyone. I heard from Nathan Marr today. There sure as hell won’t be anything in the paper or the TV news about this, so listen up. The San Miguel Sheriff’s Department found Hernandez. He was infected, of course. They put him down. They shot him in the head and got rid of the body.”

There were some blank stares around the room, except from Erika, who already knew as much. But slowly, those stares vanished as the others realized that this should not have come as a surprise. It’s not as though Henry ever called everyone to his house for nothing. In any event, with what they had already heard, and in some cases, seen themselves, how surprising could this be?

Martin broke the silence. “So, I take it that we're calling this a good thing? If this Hernandez guy is down, he can’t spread that nasty shit to anyone else, can he?”

“No he can’t, Mart. But who the hell knows who he ran into out there? Who knows if a bunch of people are already messed up from this damned plague or whatever the hell it is. We just don’t know anything. Considering that they still found him in San Miguel County, we might be able to hope that he never left. That means that if Hernandez infected anyone else, we’ll know about it. Nathan Marr will make sure we stay in the loop. Also, their sheriff’s department already knows about this and knows how to stop it. That’s why Hernandez was put down on sight and that poor little boy was already taken out. So again, whatever happens out there, we’ll know about it and the local sheriff’s deputies can deal with it.”

Martin continued. Being Henry’s best friend, he certainly knew how to read his face, especially his eyes. He knew that Henry had just started with what passed for good news. The bad news was imminent.

“Let me guess, Henry. Something else happened, didn’t it?”

“Yeah, but don’t be too quick to ask me if it’s part of this, because I don’t know. Anyone catch the paper today? Anyone see that article about that missing family in the Jemez?”

Bumpy said, “Yeah, I caught that one, Chief.” Martin just nodded. Jay and Madeline shook their heads.

“Well, for those of you not keeping up with our world, a family of five…two parents and three kids…Erika, you remember their names? The name I said on the way up here? I spaced it.”

“Matthews? Matlin? Damn, I know it was an ‘M’…”

“Maturin, that’s it. The Maturin family was camping up near Los Alamos, right near Bandolier National Monument. They disappeared last Saturday. No sign of them since, at least as of this morning. Search and rescue is out there combing the woods for them. A lot of things can make a person just up and disappear, but a whole family? I know it’s probably not this damned disease, but while we’re hoping for the best, let’s start preparing for the worst.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by kaijafon » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:05 am

"....let's start preparing for the worst"

YES! awesome!! what a great twist: I've not read ONE story (that I can remember) yet where anyone is able to actually prepare for a zombie invasion!! They usually are "super fast" with the whole world over run in a like a day or two.

Thank you for this unique twist!!! change! whatever!!! I love how the suspense is building!!

and more !!!!!!! cause that is how excited I am about this story!!!!!!!

!!!!!!
MOAR PLEASE!!!!!!!!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Yeti » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:50 pm

kaijafon wrote:"....let's start preparing for the worst"

YES! awesome!! what a great twist: I've not read ONE story (that I can remember) yet where anyone is able to actually prepare for a zombie invasion!! They usually are "super fast" with the whole world over run in a like a day or two.
Thank you for this unique twist!!! change! whatever!!! I love how the suspense is building!!

and more !!!!!!! cause that is how excited I am about this story!!!!!!!

!!!!!!
MOAR PLEASE!!!!!!!!
Course it could because of folks like Henry and Nathan keeping it under wraps as long as they could that cause it to seem to outbreak everywhere at once. :wink:

Honestly if I was Henry and cared so much about the town, I would start talking to the townsfolk one by one feeling each out.
That and I would have a feeling all the local county sheriffs would be talking to one another by now. While they might be bitter rivals on the softball field in matters where they are going to coverup something of this nature but still watch for it they will be in for a penny in for a pound.
Same goes with the cornors.

As of right now we have 4 confirmed cases.
Deputy / Kid / Girl who attacked Kid / One that attacked Plessy

With 6 more possibles.
Henry heard a moan while out there at night and the family of 5 that is missing.
Yeti

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Hoppy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:25 pm

Yeti wrote:
With 6 more possibles.
Henry heard a moan while out there at night and the family of 5 that is missing.

with more implied. some one infected Greg Lemme ( the one who bit plessy) some one infected that girl and all the distances involved in the cases.
No one has a sense for the dramatic.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:04 pm

That last statement sent a mild shiver down at least Madeline’s spine, which she showed. It was hard to tell if anyone else in the room was so affected. Martin and Bumpy remained stoic, while Jay simply cocked an eyebrow. Prepare for the worst? What did that mean? What was the worst, in Henry’s mind? And what exactly could the six people in this room do about it, especially when the town of Red River had nearly five hundred residents, and outside this room, only one really knew what could happen?

Bumpy, despite his expectations of an answer, still asked the question. “Okay, Henry. Prepare for the worst? What’s the worst to you?”

“If you had asked me that a couple of weeks ago, I might have thought that a couple of those freaks running around Red River would be the worst. Whatever may happen anywhere else, I’m not police chief of the whole damned world. I’m police chief of Red River, and we can really only do some good here. Now, I think that the worst would be if fifty of those psychos rolled into town and started ripping our friends apart. We need to start thinking of a plan, because I believe that something like that could actually happen. I’m not kidding. Things are happening in other places, and the first case anyone even knew about did happen right here. This is a real threat. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I’d rather do that than underestimate how far this can go.”

“Goddamn…” was about all Martin could say.

Henry continued, “So, we at least have one part down. I had Madeline pick us up some ammo and a few other things from Outdoorsman’s Outpost last week, but it’s going to take more than ammo to deal with this if it hits us hard. We need to get off our asses and really think of a way to keep the people safe and hold out until help arrives. The real problem here is…we just can’t really tell anyone to be prepared for this thing. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed. No one other than Russ Tillman even knows about it, and he doesn’t know about what’s happened out in San Miguel County, and probably wouldn’t think to attach this whole thing to those missing campers. That’s the real hitch, everyone. We can’t tell people about this. They’d never believe it, and if they don’t believe it, it doesn’t help them worth anything. They’d laugh us all out of our jobs, and admittedly, if I didn’t know what I know, so would I.”

Jay showed a flash of mature thinking when he kick-started the next phase of the conversation. “Okay, we can’t tell anyone. We know what we can’t do. How about what we can do?”

“First and foremost,” Henry replied, “we need to start thinking of where to gather everyone. If these semi-dead looking assholes start showing up, we need to get everyone together. We need to keep them in one place to look after them all at the same time. We also need to find out who among them got infected on the way. That’s the big one right there. We won’t be doing anyone any good if we just let someone in with a bite so they go ape shit and start biting everyone else. We need to…I don’t know, screen them somehow.”

Madeline asked, “Screen them? Like what, give everyone in this town a physical? You think Doctor Inglesby is going to sit there and strip that many people butt-naked in front of everyone?”

“I don’t know right off-hand, okay? I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I just know that we have to. That’s what we’re here to talk about. If I could think of everything myself, we wouldn’t be here, would we?”

In Martin’s mind, a great many dark realities were beginning to come together, and he saw no way through them. He sat in silence for a few seconds, hands folded in front of him, head down.

Henry said, “Martin, you look like you have something on the mind. Is it something we need to hear?”

“Need to hear? Yes. Want to hear? Not at all.”

“Well, this is the day for that sort of thing. Go ahead.”

Martin’s gaze scanned the room, switching from one face to another. “We need to face facts. If this thing hits us here, it doesn’t really matter what we do. We’re not going to be able to save everyone. That’s just not going to happen. They’re not going to know what’s going on, not when they start seeing people stumbling around in the street. They’re just not going to understand it. Hell, we barely do. We can’t tell them beforehand, so they’re not going to know a damned thing until they see this for themselves, and by then, it’ll be too late for some people. Even when they see what it is, will they accept it? They won’t be able to face facts, so we’d better face them ourselves. Some people are going to get bitten. Some are going to become infected. That’s just going to happen, and nothing we do is going to stop that. We gather who we can, but by the time anyone realizes how bad it’s gotten, a lot of them will already be infected. The only way to keep that from happening is to tell people what this is and how to stop it, and we already know that no one’s going to buy it. But as far as screening people, we don’t need to strip them naked for God’s sake. If anyone’s got blood on them, we see if they’re bitten. But we can’t screen five hundred people, okay? We already know that.”

Henry stood silently as the reality of Martin’s words sank deeply into his head. He was right, there was no doubt about that. “Okay Martin. I don’t disagree with you on any points. But what can we really do then? How do we save people?”

“Easy, Henry. We accept that we can’t save them all. As I said, the only way people are going to realize what’s happening is to see it themselves, and by then, it’ll be too late for a lot of them. They won’t understand a thing until they get bitten or see people getting bitten. We’ll damned well have fewer than five hundred people to worry about before we can really start protecting people. We save who we can. That’s all. We save who we can. You’re right, though. You’re right Henry. We need to find a place to gather everyone so we can hole up and wait for the cavalry, if it comes.”

Bumpy had his own take on this, and it did cast a minor pall over the rest of the conversation.

“What we really need to do is hope that this hits some other place as hard as we think it might hit us. We need another town to get infested by these mutants or whatever the hell they are. We need something big enough so that no one can keep a lid on it, so that the people here will know about it. If this hits another town hard, everyone will know. That’s what we really need. We need for this thing to hit someplace else really bad before it gets to us.”

“Jesus Christ…” Henry managed to utter.

Bumpy followed with, “You know, a little help from him would be nice too, but I think that both he and his dad have officially told us to get fucked.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:47 pm

Madeline, now trying to steer people away from the doom and gloom, hoped to get to the more proactive part of the plan.

“All right, God’s not going to help us, and a lot of people in this town are going to get infected if this gets here. We get it. But when we start trying to save who we can, where do we take them? What building in this town is big enough to hold a few hundred people and can be protected by the few of us? Not my house.”

Jay said, “Smalls towns don’t usually have large buildings. We only really have one building I can think of where the whole town will fit, and has few enough entrances that we can keep anything out. I mean, I hate to act like an expert just because I’ve seen a movie or two but…I can only think of one.”

Erika took enough from that to figure it out. “The convention center.”

Jay smiled, believing that his idea had merit and that everyone would agree. “Yeah, that’s it. Biggest building in town. Hell, it was designed to hold everyone and then some. Not a lot of windows, not a lot of entrances, room for people to move around, and if they get in one way, we can either hold it, or get out another way. Also, the parking lot and a park are right in front. Good visibility, and that means good fields of fire. That, and I can’t think of anything else.”

Henry, with arms folded, simply said, “I think it gives us the best chance. But if this thing gets here, we need to get some of us and our…posse, I guess we’re calling it, over there right away and have a couple of us out there on our bullhorns, telling people where to go. We start getting people to the convention center and we can start telling them what’s happening and how to fight it. But Martin’s right. We stop anyone with blood on them and check them for wounds.”

Martin asked, “But the one thing we haven’t covered yet, Henry. What do we do if we find anyone bitten? We’re not going to just sit around and let them turn into a walking disease, are we? What are we doing about them?”

Henry folded his arms again and hung his head in thought. “I don’t know. That’s a real issue, isn’t it? We can sit and wait until their infection runs its course and turns them psychopathic, but at the least, we should quarantine them somehow. I don’t know, isolate them someplace, like in one of the convention center’s offices or something. But then, that has its own share of problems, and we have enough as it is.”

Bumpy finished Henry’s thought for him. “Someone gets infected, we stash them someplace, they might not want to just sit around and wait to go crazy on us. They could force their way out when we try to let another one in, and when they do, what do we do? Shoot them? What happens when the rest of the damned town sees us shooting people, people who haven’t gone nuts yet? But then, put a few in a room, what’s going to happen when one freaks out and turns all nasty? What’ll happen to the other ones in there, the ones who haven’t turned yet? They’ll get shredded into pieces, Henry. We can’t quarantine them.”

Henry went on. “Okay, so that idea just went to shit. So what do we do if we find someone who already has the disease? If they’ve already turned crazy because of it, we can just shoot them in the head. But if they’re just infected but not crazy yet, then what? We can’t just shoot them. Everyone will think we just murdered a perfectly healthy person. They won’t get it. They won’t know why we did it.”

Jay interrupted, “When they see an infected one finally lose it and bite someone, they’ll understand then.”

“Yeah, but how quickly? How many people are going to get bitten by then?” Henry looked out the window, even though Red River couldn’t be seen from his front window, only sky and trees, but as he kept looking, looking for answers in the trees like Russ Tillman seemed to, he began to fear that there were simply no solutions. Martin was right. Not everyone was going to make it if Red River became the target of this epidemic.

“We leave them outside.” It was Madeline.

“Say that again?” Henry asked.

“We leave them outside. If we let even one bitten person inside, we’re playing with our health record. We’re begging for them to turn into a psycho and bite someone else. There’s no place to isolate them in there. We want to protect people? We have to leave the infected ones outside. That’s the only way to keep anyone safe, including ourselves.”

Bumpy, now a little louder than before, asked, “How the hell are we supposed to tell some old man that his wife has to stay outside if she has a bite on her? How do we do that? And if we tell infected people that they can’t come in, what are they going to do? Just stay outside like good little girls and boys? They’re going to try to force their way in, and then what? We shoot them? We shoot them while their loved ones are watching? There’s no way we can keep them outside. Just no way.”

“I know that there’s no way, Bumpy, because I’m not a freaking idiot. But we have to. We want to protect people, we have to keep the infected ones away from them, and if everyone is inside, the infected ones have to be outside. I don’t think it matters if there’s no practical way to do it. We have to, and that’s the end of that story.” Madeline seemed to be sailing a little close to indignation as she spoke. “We need to figure out how to keep infected people out of the convention center, and if anyone has a better idea than that, please, by all means, share it with the goddamned rest of us.”

“Listen to me,” Bumpy responded, “I’m not saying we should let in those who got themselves bitten, but I just don’t know how we’re supposed to keep them out, so…”

“Then think of something!” Madeline yelled at him. “Instead of telling me how messed up an idea it is, think of something that’ll work!”

“Everyone knock it off,” Henry said, raising his decibel considerably. “I yell in this house, not any of you. Both of you are right. Bumpy’s right that there might not be a practical way of keeping them out, but Madeline’s also right. Practical way or not, it’s what we’re going to have to do. Period.”

“What are you suggesting, Henry?” Bumpy asked. “Shoot anyone with a bite on them?”

“Not that specifically, but we need to figure this shit out, because we might not have much time. This could be rolling towards town right now for all we know.”
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by IAmWillIAm » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:03 am

Tell the people with bites on them that they need to go get vaccinated, and that the vaccines are at the police station. Take them to the police station, and either isolate them, or shoot them. It may be cold, but that's really the only option that prevents unrest in the non-infected part of the population.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:53 am

I just did a post a few fucking minutes ago, and now it's gone.

What the hell happened to it? No one start giving me any crap about "maybe you didn't actually post it" or anything like that. I posted it, I saw it here, and now, it has been removed.

Once it is recovered, the story can continue.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by kremor » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:31 am

Trust me PB, I doubt anyone would ever give you crap about your posting hehe.

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