But with a Whimper

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:38 am

“Wonder how I didn’t see that, coming.” George Sturgis said, almost smiling with the sarcasm. “I’m guessing a few more things might go wrong before this is done, betcha anything.”

“Shit, they’re right on us! We need to get the hell out of this truck, now!” Henry almost leapt from the bed of the truck, helping the somewhat less agile George out while Russ got out fast, with his rifle in one hand and strangely, his keys in the other. By the time all were out, the dead had reached the rear of the truck, and there were too many to stand and fight.

“Run!” Henry yelled. He pulled his M1911 and shot one point blank, then another and another. They were so close that he could fire one-handed without even focusing. He dropped eight in literally five seconds, but his weapon was empty and more were coming right behind them, relentless beasts closing for the kill.

They took off as quickly as they could, not turning to fire or even see how close their pursuers were. Now, several dozen were between them and the relative safety of the convention center, and the only way back at all was through them. They were also behind, and the only thing ahead of them was the Best Western.

“We’ve got to get up to the second level of the hotel!” Russ Tillman hollered.

“They can trap us up there! We need to stay on ground level!” Henry hollered back.

“No, we can lead them up one set of stairs and nail them as they come up! They’re only coming at us from behind! There’s more than one way up there, and look!” Russ was pointing at an RV parked right by the rooms, nose-first. Henry recognized it as belonging to Pete Schell and his family, who owned the Two Pines Lodge. “If they trap us, we can get down by jumping on that!”

“Think you’re nimble enough for that, Russ? What about you, George?”

“RVs like that have ladders in the back! And if you have any better ideas, Chief…we can go ahead and discuss those while we’re running for our asses!” Russ was almost laughing. The thrill of the fight had now mostly erased the fear he should have been feeling. Henry, knowing about such cases from more than one training seminar on the Santa Fe force, knew that if Russ got through this, he was going to have one hell of an emotional outpouring when this over. The emotions one buries during a fight have a habit of digging their way out afterwards.

But Russ was right about one thing: Henry had nothing better at the moment. They hurried up the stairs, putting distance between themselves and the mob of dead following them, then turned to fire. “Kill the fucks!” Henry screamed. Russ began nailing them with his .30-06 rifle, not missing, firing with a cool ease that seemed to contradict his thrill of the fight. George was watching their backs, as another set of stairs was behind them on the opposite end of the row of rooms on the upper level. Henry had to focus hard to hit their pursuers, as his world had begun to blur around the edges. The bloodlust he had been feeling on the roof had evaporated. He was no longer hitting them from a safe position. Now, he was in dead territory and he knew it.

Many had fallen already, but as before, they simply couldn’t fire quickly enough, even with a semi-automatic weapon in Henry’s hands that could drop thirty if used by a proficient marksman, and even though Henry was one, not all of his shots were sending them down. The nearest were now reaching the stairs, right under them, where they couldn’t see to shoot.

“I think we need to get back…” Henry said.

“I think you’re right…” George replied.

They began to move backwards while George turned again to see if anything was coming up the other set of stairs, though nothing was. They had reached the RV when the dead began lumbering onto the second level. Henry began firing again, knocking them back down, causing those behind to tumble. But he knew this battle had other fronts, and he was unsure of what was happening on those. But he hadn’t seen Mayor Denning, Erika, and the rest of Red River pouring from the back of the convention center, so that was at least something.

“George, switch out. Take the AR! I need to make a call!”

“Tell them to make sure it comes with pepperoni!”

“Smart ass!” Henry handed over his assault rifle and took the shotgun from George. He then keyed his walkie-talkie. “Mart! What’s going on over there? Tell me something good, Mart!”

“There’s a pile of nasty shit between the inner and outer doors five feet high! Things got fucking hairy for a while, and man…it’s been a hell of a fight in here, but they didn’t get in! They didn’t get in here, Chief! They’ve stopped coming, so whatever you’re doing is working!”

Henry could see more coming up the stairs to replace those already down. They just weren’t stopping, not for anything. “Yeah, working like a goddamned charm! Stay where you are! We’ve got a thing or two on our plates right now, but stay where the hell you are!”

They held their position at the RV, and the pile of dead at the top of the stairs was beginning to block those following, until they were unable to get over their own dead compatriots. But those moans still reached them on the second level, but there wasn’t anything they could do about the ones beneath them unless they went back down.

“Come on, guys!” Henry bellowed. “We’re going down the other stairs and putting these fuckers on the ground! I’m sick of this shit! This ends now!”
"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 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:09 am

The trio ran to the other stairs and down to the ground, seeing that a large mob of the dead gathered was trying and failing to climb over those already put down to get to the second level. They had not yet noticed Henry and his two companions. There were still some in the parking lot, but all had moved away from the trucks and were converging on the hotel.

“We need to do this right now, Chief.” George Sturgis said.

“Then let’s.” Henry led the others closer to the other stairs and just started firing, but this time, less desperate than he had been before, his shots were hitting their marks with almost laser precision. Russ was popping them in the head as flawlessly as he already had been, but George, with a double-barrel in his hands (he and Henry had already switched back) was acting as their lookout. They held out as long as they could, firing into a wall of decaying heads and sending them to the ground, but as Henry reached for his magazine pouch, he almost yelped when he realized that no magazines remained in it.

“Well that could be a problem…” he said, mainly to himself.

“Chief, I’m running a tad bit low over here,” Russ stated. “I think I have ten rounds left on me at best here…”

“Lot of that going around, Russ. George, how you fixed?”

“Eighteen or nineteen, but against all that…”

“Shit, we need to get back to the convention center. We did what we set out to do, but now, we’ve got to get back. Mart said that a wall of bodies is built up against the doors, so we can defend those easily, but we can’t stay out here. We’ve got to go.”

“Through that?” George asked, pointing to the dead coming from the parking lot, closing in on them. There were at least fifty or sixty, and twenty at least remained at the stairs, but were starting to head right towards Henry.

“We’ll have to lead them away on foot then, put some distance between them and us and try to get the lot clear if we plan on getting back.”

“Sounds like a lot of shooting and scooting, there, Chief. This gonna work?” George asked.

“How should I know? I’m not psychic.”

That was when they heard it, or at least Henry did at first. It was the screech of tires and the rumbling of an engine, but he knew right away that it wasn’t the National Guard. He knew the sound of a pickup when he heard one. But it was what he saw that made his jaw head south. A massive Ford F-350 was heading towards them, and Henry instantly recognized it, largely because of the snowplow that tended to be affixed to the front for use in winter, but even though it wasn’t affixed now, that truck was bumping the dead out of the way as it moved, too slowly to damage itself against them. At the helm was Hank Bell, who was contracted to the town’s Public Works Department, and plowing the snow in winter tended to be part of his annual contract.

Perhaps plowing the dead with nothing but his front bumper entitled him to a bonus, but that was for another day.

As Hank pulled the massive truck right up to them, he leaned out the window and simply said, “You all some crazy sumbitches, you know that?”

“What the hell are you doing out here, Hank?” Henry then noticed the two men, one of whom was Lew Clancy, in the bed. All three had been on the roof for much of the fight.

“Saving your asses. So I’d suggest you get in here and let us get you all back to where we all ought to be.”

“I guess I owe you a thank you there Hank, if only because I can’t instantly think of something more monumental.” Henry chuckled as he said it.

“Well, so far, you’re owed about five hundred or thereabouts, Chief. Now climb in here before you lose the chance to collect.” They climbed in the bed, helped by Lew and his companion, and Hank gunned it back to the convention center. Henry, seeing what they passed, was almost in a state of shock at what had apparently transpired, which was by itself surprising as much of it had been by his own hand. The parking lot contained a great many downed dead bodies, far more than standing ones.

“Jesus, look at that! Did we do that?” Henry asked.

“Some of it, Chief. But you ought to remember, when you were gallivanting all over the place, some of us actually thought that busting them up from the roof was still a decent idea. A lot of them started staggering away from the entrance to follow you, putting them right in our sights. Wish we could have gotten more of them, but I’m afraid our ammo is a little on the low side.” Lew was tapping the ammo pouch on his belt for his Garand. The rather hollow sound it made told Henry that not much remained inside.

“Popular story being told today, I’m afraid, Lew.”
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:47 pm, 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 Stumpgrinder » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:21 pm

This is your best work yet PB. Thanks!
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by dwr cymru » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:01 pm

I was going to stay away from rescue centres, then my mind has been swayed by the story, and then that muppet opens fire and wrecks the glass doors letting the baddies in - have to have a good think about what to do now.

Great story Ponyboy, I hope that there is a lot more to come with this - don't want this story to end with the defending of the convention centre - quality with a capital Q.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by cowboyfromhel86 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:08 pm

ughh so good .. got my fix today haa thanks great story
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Wrecking Ball » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:43 pm

This is too damn epic for words.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by WhoShotJR » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:33 pm

Just as I was about to get caught up with the story a helicopter flew over my house. The first thought in my mind was "The National Guard's finally here". :lol: Good story, PB.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by TheGunslinger » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:30 pm

Man, that was an epic read - haven't caught up for the last few days and that was a hell of a read. Really, really enjoying this!
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:13 pm

Hank Bell drove his massive truck through the parking lot and past the one on the side of the building, heading straight for the fire ladder in the back. The dead followed, but Hank outpaced them with ease. But after parking, the gap began to slowly close. Hank Bell had barely even gotten out when the first among the dead began to turn the corner of the back of the building, barely twelve feet away from the ladder.

“Go! Get up the goddamned ladder!”

“What about you?” Russ yelled.

“Age before ugly, now go!” Henry drew his M1911 and shot the first one right above the eye socket, sending it down. He then shot another and then another, missing only one of the eight shots he fired. By the time his magazine was empty, Russ Tillman was at the top, with Hank Bell and another man close behind. George Sturgis started to head up as Henry slapped another magazine in, though George was never the quick type.

Another almost got to within grabbing distance when Henry almost touched the muzzle of his .45 to its face and squeezed the trigger. The back of its head exploded all over the one behind it. He kept firing, but his hand shook from the terror, and his last shot went wild. The slide on his weapon was locked open. He was empty.

“Son of a bitch!”

“Chief! Get up here, goddamnit!” Lew Clancy yelled, while trying to get a bead on one of the dead with what turned out to be his last Garand clip, but they were too close to the wall, and Lew just couldn’t line it up. “Come on!”

“No time!” They were almost on him. He was forced to back up. There was no climbing the ladder now. They would have bitten his legs off were he to try. Twelve or so had rounded the corner, then fifteen, then twenty. His M1911 was completely out. He had fired off all of his .45 ACP ammo. All that remained now was the .357 revolver in his waistband. That was all he had left to save his own life. Henry Dane ran.

He rounded the other corner, mumbling “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…” repeatedly as he forced his Kimber back into its holster and drew his .357. He turned but they had not even begun to catch him, but this was no time for heroics. He kept going until he was in the front parking lot. A few were still staggering here and there, but it seemed that most were behind the building, pursuing him with teeth ready to tear him to chunks.

He ran out into the parking lot until he was sure than all the dead nearby were in his line of sight. There were still enough that getting to the door was almost suicidal, but not enough had come from around the back to even attempt to reach the fire ladder. The dead, at least fifty of them, converged on him as he clutched his revolver with terrified, shaking hands while a low sob had formed in his throat. Apparently, he had kissed Erika for the last time.

As one closed to within five yards, a male, no more than twenty, it opened its mouth, showing its reddened teeth. Henry saw the mouth of hell gaping at him as he raised his revolver and fired. The shot went right into that grotesque mouth, almost ripping off everything above the lower jaw. He turned and fired at another about eight yards away. He hit the eye, blasting out the back of the skull.

Seven shots…you’ve used two…that’s four more you can drop before you use the last on yourself. Easier that way. But it’s just you, Henry my boy. The rest of the ones out here? The Guard will take them out when they arrive, or they’ll be stopped at the door. They can’t get in the doors, they can’t climb the ladder…you did it, Henry. You did it. Your town is safe. The price was cheap. All it really cost in the end was you. But Erika’s safe, isn’t she? Everyone but you is safe. Your life for the whole town. Congratulations, Henry. Now, at long last, you know what it means to be Chief of Police.

“Fuck that kind of thinking.” Henry uttered as he blasted another and then another. He dropped seven with seven shots. He had too many rounds to use one on himself so quickly. Besides, things would have to get worse than this before that constituted an acceptable way out. He wasn’t giving up that easily. He ran as he reloaded, determined that he was growing old in this town and not dying until a lot of time had passed. The price of keeping Red River alive had already been paid in Eagle Nest and Taos Ski Valley. They had taken so much, but they weren’t taking him.

That’s it…fight for it, Henry. Your life, your town…this is what it’s all about. You weren’t really going to eat that barrel so easily, were you? Besides, forget what I said earlier. This siege isn’t over, so neither are you. You’re going to live while this is going on. Your town needs you alive inside, not dead out here. You’re going to live, right? You’re going to be standing right here, in your town when this is over, aren’t you? Good Henry…good…this is what it really means to be…oh hell, just be Henry for a second and get yourself out of this. Besides, you’re too good looking to die at thirty-four.

He slapped the cylinder closed and ran in a large circle around the mob of moaning dead bodies. He stopped every few seconds to shoot one right in the skull before starting again, but once he saw his chance, he bolted right for the trucks. Enough had dispersed. He had been outside long enough. Two were between himself and one of the trucks, and Henry didn’t even slow down before shooting them both in the brain in one second.

“Gangway, mother fuckers! My girl’s in there, and she hasn’t given me permission to die yet!”
"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 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:51 am

Henry’s mind, once again, was no longer the same Chief Dane that everyone knew and almost everyone liked, but it was certainly not bloodlust that caused his mind to jump off the train for a while. It was something else, some other kind of lust. Somewhere deep within himself, Henry knew that it was a lust for living.

Henry knew what the mouth of hell looked like. He knew what it was to see one’s death walking with earthly feet. He knew what it was to see walking abominations coming to devour all that he cared about in the world. He also knew what it was to fight with every fiber of one’s being to stop a wave of death from laying its rotted fingers on his home. He knew what it was to fight desperately for one’s life, as well as for the lives of five hundred others.

He knew what it was to earn his own right to live.

Henry had now left another trail, albeit a smaller one, of dead bodies lying down in his wake, but dead bodies still on their feet and shuffling after him continued to exist in numbers. He kept running, deciding against trying to scramble over the trucks and moved until he reached the fire ladder in the back, and scrambled up to the roof as though Spiderman had done too many hits of crack after drinking a six pack of Red Bulls. Even he couldn’t remember moving so quickly for anything in his life. So out of breath was he after reaching the roof that it took Russ and Lew to get him back on his feet.

“Goddamn, Chief. Wherever you buy your balls, I’ve gotta shop there,” Lew quipped.

“He gets them at Wal-Mart, betcha anything,” George said.

“No Wal-Marts in my town. I got these ones off of Ebay,” Henry responded, though he was too exhausted for laughing.

“Oh, and you’re most welcome, Chief. When you ran around, popping skulls like a sumbitch, we managed to take a few more down,” Hank Bell mentioned, “but we’re pretty much out of ammo up here. We did pretty damned good, I think, but unless you have a couple of boxes of rifle ammo in your ass, I think we’re pretty much out of this fight.”

Henry allowed himself to smile. “I wouldn’t worry about that. You’ve…you’ve all done enough. Hell of a thing you all did since this shit began. I mean that, guys. Hell of a thing you did.”

“No problem, Chief,” George Sturgis said. “So, does this put us on the police payroll, or do we just get credit on our next batch of speeding tickets?”

Henry headed back down the fire ladder in the hallway, making his way to the entrance before collapsing in a chair. He actually sat, still huffing somewhat, for a minute or so before anyone even noticed him. It was Madeline who turned first and saw her chief sitting, just looking at his officers and the five-foot-deep pile of their handiwork pushed up against the remains of the doorframes.

“Madeline.”

“Chief?” That got everyone to turn around, and whatever they had been speaking off screeched to a halt like a hip hop DJ stopping the record. Everyone at the doors almost mobbed him, almost pawing at him, with their statements and questions melting into each other. Henry had no idea what the hell anyone was saying, but one thing was obvious, and that was everyone was thrilled as hell that Henry was inside again, not running or riding around in the middle of a horde of flesh-rending dead bodies.

But the mob around Henry parted as though Moses was standing over it with spreading arms. Everyone quieted down as Erika walked between them, wrapping her arms around Henry and seeming to do something that was half-laughing and half-crying. It was then that Henry began doing the same thing.

“I told you I’d come back.”

“Yes, yes you did, Henry.”

After a minute or so of Henry and Erika realizing that the world was not quite done with them yet, Martin walked up, looking red-faced and on the verge of tears himself. “We heard from our guys on the roof what you were doing, Chief. You must have been out of your goddamned mind. Crazy as a shit house rat, or whatever that old saying is.”

“And why not? Seems like the whole damned world has gone crazy of late. Why not me? So what’s the situation down here?”

Martin replied, “Haven’t seen them trying to get at us since you led them all over the damned town. Sounds like a lot of them are down and out. I don’t know how many are still out there, but with that pile against the doors, I don’t think they’re getting in. They probably can’t get under the trucks as it is. I guess we just sit and wait.”

“Sounds about right. Oh, and for what it’s worth, good job, Mart. Sounds like you really gave them hell. Good job. I knew you wouldn’t let them in. So, how are we still fixed for ammo? The guys on the roof are just about out. The AR is empty, no more mags, I’m out of .45 ACP, and I probably have…I don’t know…forty rounds or so for the .357. That’s it. That’s everything.”

Madeline answered part of that. “We still have quite a few shot shells, and a good amount of .223. If you still have the mags for the AR15, we can start loading them now.”

“Uh, yeah, about that…the magazines for that are scattered out there. Some in the parking lot, some at the hotel, and probably a couple in Russ Tillman’s truck. But we can still keep the Ranch Rifle fed, right?”

Just as Henry was about to inquire about whether or not there was anything to eat available, he heard a voice on his walkie-talkie. It was George Sturgis.

“Chief, you might want to come up here…”
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:40 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 TastingAshes » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:08 am

Excellent updates PB.... 2 a.m. here and I am on the edge of my seat! I had every intention of doing some writing of my own until I logged in and saw you on as well.... Is it wrong to feel like a kid on Christmas here???

Anyways, Thanks for the great story and entertainment sir. Wish like hell we could all pay you back somehow!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:14 am

“Don’t tell me…don’t tell me that another fucking mob of those shit smellers just popped in. For the love of god, George, don’t tell me that.”

“Oh we have company all right, Chief. But it’s just not the kind you’re thinking of. This kind wears camo.”

Henry got up and almost ran back up the ladder to see George, Lew, Hank, and a slew of others waving at something. Russ was waving one of the flares from the storage room down below. It took a second for Henry to see what they were waving at, but he could certainly hear it. When he did finally see what was coming, he almost cried his eyes right out of his skull. He certainly knew what a Blackhawk helicopter looked like, and two of them were flying in low, just above the treetops. One started to circle the town, but the other began to descend right over the parking lot. What really got right to Henry’s heart was someone inside, holding a scoped M14 rifle, getting ready to write his own chapter in the story of the defense of Red River, New Mexico…giving Henry and the others a thumb’s up.

The Blackhawk held four such sharpshooters, who methodically picked their targets and put them down with an accuracy Henry only wished he could claim. It seemed that literally every second, a dead body was slumped on the ground where it should have been all along, and the chopper continued along the rest of the town, with the sound of rifle fire here and there as it moved.

“So, that’s the cavalry, huh?” Russ said. “Arriving just in time to mop up after we did all the dirty work. I wonder if they’ll help me fix a flat tire.”

“But there they are. I guess this is what we were waiting for. We set out to hold this place until the military arrived, and now here they are, popping everything we didn’t. This is…I don’t know. I don’t really know how I feel right now. I think this whole thing has left me too weirded out to be as relieved as I should be.” Henry wiped the sweat from his brow, continuing along to the sweat on his face, or at least that’s what he thought. He didn’t know that the drops running down his cheeks weren’t sweat.

The Blackhawk continued its circuit around the town, but the rifle fire was already gone. The targets were now on the ground, the last of the mob that had invaded Red River. The other Blackhawk just landed in the park, much to Henry’s own surprise.

“I guess someone has to be this town’s welcoming committee. I’m heading down to…I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get there. I…” Henry said. He headed back down and gathered the people, once again using the microphone.

“Listen up everyone, and please allow me to finish. Outside right now are two army helicopters. One’s just circling the town, but the other came in low and was putting down the rest of the dead ones. We’re not hearing any more gunfire, so I hope that means that the job is done. But this is it, everyone. This is what we’ve hoped for. The military is here. I would like everyone to stay where you are until I can get some information from them, about how safe it is to go outside. Please remain inside until we know more. But…they’ve made it, people. They made it. Hell, we made it.”

Henry gathered his officers, along with Erika. “Mart, you and Bumpy get on the roof. Jay, Madeline, you stay here and try to make sure that no one causes a riot in their boundless joy or whatever. I’m…I’m going out there. I want to see this thing end myself.” Henry climbed back up to the roof and down the fire ladder in the back. Walking past virtual mounds of dead bodies, he looked from side to side, seeing his town still standing and its attackers dead with their heads destroyed. He looked like hell, with bits of blood and brain staining his uniform shirt from the killing at close range, circles were under his eyes, and his hands shook.

Someone climbed out of the Blackhawk. He was dressed in full battle gear, complete with a tactical M4 carbine in his hands. The two walked slowly up to each other.

“I make you to be Chief Henry Dane,” the soldier said.

“Does that make you Major Carl Royce?”

“It does.” Major Royce offered his hand, which Henry shook. “Looks like you guys had a hell of a fight here, a hell of a fight. Most of this mess isn’t from my guys, I know that.”

“You might say we had a fight here, Major. By the way, thank you, thank you for coming. Is it…is it over?”

“Not quite, Chief. Espanola still has some more cleaning up to get through, and with a couple of our towns gone, we expect there might be some out in the woods and such. We’re assembling sweep and clear teams to take care of whatever ones are still out there.”

“Espanola? I thought the news said it was secure.”

“’Secure’ means we own it, not that it’s completely cleared. They’re leaving a couple of companies there for a few weeks. No one wants a repeat of this mess. The Guard’s going to be at it for a while.”

“But…this is ending, right, Major? This is at least the beginning of the end, right? Are we…is our town going to be…shit. I just don’t know what I’m trying to ask. Sorry, my head is…I can’t hold a straight thought right now.”

Henry then saw what was rumbling up the main road from the east. An entire convoy of deuce-and-a-half trucks, Humvees, and so on began to turn towards the parking lot.

Indeed, the cavalry had arrived.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:55 am

As the convoy pulled into the parking lot and troops jumped out, forming a perimeter, Major Royce continued speaking with Henry.

“Sorry we didn’t get here a bit sooner, Chief. A lot more of this mess would be ours. We kept running into them on the road here. Sometimes, a dozen or so would be blocking the road, but other times, they just sort of came out of the trees right at my guys on the ground. We’re lucky we managed to get our hands on a couple of Blackhawks. We were able to spot them from the air and help clear the way.”

“I’m just glad you got here at all. You might not believe how much we pinned our hopes on you guys showing up. Our ammo was low, they had us boxed in, help was far away, we were really freaking out about our chances. Thank you again, Major.”

“So, if you have anyone who was…you know…anyone we need to see to…”

“No one here was lost. No one at all.”

“Chief, are you serious?”

“Sure as hell am. We were all in one place. Had one entrance to guard but more than one way out, and a perfectly good roof to snipe from. It was hairy, you can bet on that, but…we made a good fight, I guess. I guess we did okay. So, what happens now? You going to haul us up to Raton while some of your guys run around the woods, popping them as you go? What are you going to do with us?”

“Well, there’s no need to move you up to Raton, Chief. We’re establishing a camp right here. Red River is in the heart of the infected area, with two towns gone and Espanola not that far away. We’ll be mounting our sweep and clear operations from here for the time being, but we’ll also see to your people. I’d like to turn this parking lot and park into our base camp. After we police these bodies, we’ll put as many of your people in that Best Western as we can, and put the rest in tents. This whole area, including the hotel will be surrounded by a chain link fence, sandbags, and so on. It’s going to be a big deal around here, so I hope you don’t mind us squatting for a while.”

“I think we’ll be more than happy to see you nearby when we wake up.” Henry then noticed that another helicopter was coming in, but this one was not military. As soon as it began to descend in altitude, he recognized it as the KOAT 7 News chopper. “Uh, Major Royce? What the hell are they doing here?”

“I said you guys were big news. You know how they are. They were calling this place a ‘glimmer of hope’ and ‘a beacon of’ whatever the hell they say on the news. People all over the county were likening this to The Alamo, or the marines at Khe Sahn in ’68, you know, enter your famous last stand here. I think someone just needed some good news after what happened in Espanola, and then Eagle Nest and Taos Ski Valley. It’s been a real nightmare, Chief. A real nightmare, so people just needed to see something that told them that they didn’t have to roll over and die, I guess. I still can’t believe that you didn’t lose a person at all.”

“Came close. Was almost me, and a friend of mine. If the occasion presents itself, I’m sure we’ll chat all about that.”

“Look forward to it. Go deal with the news people. They going to want their hero.”

“My god, Major. Is that what they’re calling me now?”

All around him, the National Guard began setting up tents and a chain link fence. They worked at incredible speed, but what got Henry the most was that as they passed him by, almost everyone nodded as they saw him. He of course nodded back, but he could only wonder what these young men and women had heard about him and the fight in Red River. The bodies were slowly being emptied from the lot and the surrounding areas, being thrown onto trucks. Henry didn’t want to know where they were going.

It was a while before the Guard let the KOAT 7 News anchor and cameraman through. Henry recognized her right away. She was Angela Reed, who had reported from the National Guard barricades outside of Espanola. Now here she was, in Henry’s little slice of heaven, looking for the next big deal to pipe into your living room. Henry was in no mood for this, and he sure wasn’t looking the part of the plucky hero that the press was almost certainly hoping for.

“Excuse me, are you Henry Dane, the police chief of Red River?” Angela Reed was immaculately dressed, looking like she might as well be interviewing the pope. Her nails were painted a soft red, matching her lips. Her long brown hair might has well have been in a commercial for some fancy-ass hair care product. She was neat and clean, looking thoroughly professional. She could not have been a sharper contrast to Henry. A fact that was Angela Reed was clearly noting as she approached him. She seemed disappointed upon realizing that this was Chief Henry Dane, Red River Police Department, Hero of Red River or whatever she was going to call him.

“Chief Dane? Hello,” she said, offering her hand. “I’m Angela Reed, KOAT 7 News. I’m going to be conducting an interview with you that will be going all the way up to our national affiliate in New York. I’m certainly pleased to meet you.”

“Miss Reed.” Henry shook her hand, but said nothing else. Some loved the spotlight, even lived for it. Henry was not one of those people. If he loved adulation, he would have never come all the way up to Red River, a tiny little mountain burg where nothing strange ever happens.

“So, Chief Dane, we’ll be going live in a few minutes, I wonder if there’s a place where you can get cleaned up.”

“Cleaned up?”

“Yes, maybe shower, put on a fresh uniform, that sort of thing. And I wonder if we can do this by that pile of bodies the National Guard is starting to take away. The activity of the Guard in the background might be good…”

“Miss Reed, all my uniforms are at home, a couple of miles that way,” Henry pointed to the opposite side of the main road, up into the trees. “All I have apart from this are civilian clothes, and at the moment, I would have to climb a fire ladder and descend another one to get to my clothes, then back the same way, and I feel like I’ve been body slammed by a fucking gorilla on ‘roid rage. I’m afraid your interview is going to be ‘what you see is what you get.’”

“Chief Dane, are you sure you want to be seen on television this way? We’re going for an angle here, you know, clean cut American hero…this has been the worst disaster in memory, Chief, and people need heroes. They need to see that some people won’t just lay down and die, that sort of thing. That’s what my producer is looking for.”

“Miss Reed, let’s just get this over with. Either do your precious interview now or get out of my town so we can try to pick up the pieces, okay?”
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:12 pm, 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 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:27 am

Angela Reed, who probably saw the whole crisis in general and the defense of Red River in particular the same way Dan Rather viewed the Kennedy Assassination, was sorely disappointed. Here was Henry Dane, a fairly simple man with simple tastes and simple habits, looking like an average Joe, not the dashing badass she had been hoping for. But still, she conducted her live interview with this tired, ragged, small town cop who just happened to pull off the impossible.

“I’m Angela Reed, and we’re standing here with Chief Henry Dane of the Red River Police Deparment. KOAT 7 News has been following the story of the heroic defense of the town of Red River, which even the president has called a “bright spot that shines a light over a dark time.” All around us are the signs of a desperate battle between the brave citizens of this quaint mountain town and the reanimated dead that have wrought such a terrible toll on the people of New Mexico.”

Holy shit, is this bitch for real? She ought to be writing dumb ass romance novels the way she talks. That’s it. If I ever watch TV news again, I’m watching CBS.

“So Chief Dane, what inspired you to mount this amazing defense of your town and the people you are sworn to protect? Why did you choose the convention center as the scene of your amazing stand?”

“It’s a big building that we could defend.” That was all he said in response to that wordy question. Angela Reed looked with inquisitive eyes, hoping to get Henry to say more, but that was all he wished to say. The cameraman was smiling, however.

“Okay Chief…it looks as though you had a really dramatic fight between yourselves and the dead…how exactly did you manage to inflict this kind of damage on this terrible enemy that has taken so many lives in New Mexico?”

“We shot them in the head. That’s how you kill them, Miss Reed. My officers and a few volunteers. We defended this building and we shot them whenever we were able. That’s how.” Once again, Angela Reed was sorely disappointed by this media hero with the heroic qualities, in her mind, of a redneck having a beer in a sawdust joint.

“Moving along, Chief. Do you have any words of hope for those whose communities might still be threatened by this horrible enemy that has arisen right outside of our homes?”

“Words of hope? I’m not certain I fully understand the question, Miss Reed.”

“Well, this has been such a dramatic few days, and I was wondering what you can tell the people watching at home about how you must be feeling after doing such an amazing job defending your community from this terror?”

“How am I feeling? I’m in a lot of pain and I think I could sleep for a decade if they let me.”

Now Angela Reed was quite visibly starting to regret coming here to interview Henry Dane. No, he was not Chuck Norris, John Wayne, or Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy. He was not the one raising a flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima or anything of that sort. To her, there was nothing heroic about this man, but it was live and she was stuck with him.

“So Chief, what are you going to do now that you have successfully defended your town and its people? What’s next for the triumphant citizens of Red River?”

“What are we going to do? What can we do, Miss Reed? What can anybody do after going through a mess of a nightmare like this? We’re probably not having a party, that’s for sure. We’re going to lick our wounds, take stock of what’s happened, put the pieces of our lives back together, and get busy living. We’re going to live peacefully and quietly in our town, Miss Reed. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do our best to go back to what we were just a few days ago, when no one had heard of this sort of thing. Dead bodies that walk around and rip people apart? Miss Reed, do you realize that now, we all have to accept that such things have existed and somewhere out there, still might? What are we going to do you ask? We’re going to question everything we ever believed about life and death, about god, the devil, heaven, you name it. We’re going to look both ways when we leave our homes and lock our doors when we never really had to before. We’re going to probably keep guns in our cars and we might even twitch whenever we hear a drunk person moaning. We’re going to try to accept what’s happened and hope that our lives can still somehow be what they were. I don’t know what kind of answer you were looking for, but that’s all we can do. Get busy living, I guess. Our town is still here, we’re still here, and that’s certainly something. We got through this, other places didn’t, so I don’t know what to say. We aren’t the triumphant citizens of Red River, as you put it Miss Reed. We were just a group of regular people, afraid, uncertain, and hoping that we’d see the end of this. We have. No, Miss Reed. Not the stuff of heroes. You can call people that if you want. We’re just folks. That’s all we are. But this is my town, and these are my people, and heroes be damned, that’s good enough for me. Now excuse me please, Miss Reed. I’ve had enough of this show business already.”

Angela Reed stared wide-eyed at Henry, who stared right back with an expression of, “finished yet?” She was clearly embarrassed on live television, and that was her arena. Red River was Henry’s and he did wish to tend to it.

“Chief, one last thing. Who is that, standing on top of the convention center?”

Henry turned and actually saw quite a few people, mostly his trusty posse, but Angela Reed was clearly talking about the one in the center.

“That, Miss Reed, is Officer Jay Paulsen, one of my guys. Hell of a cop. He was right in the middle of this mess. He defended the people with his life. Good man.” Henry looked up at Jay, standing dead center with his foot propped up on the edge of the roof.

Not caring that he was still on camera or that this was live, Henry yelled out, “Jay, what are you doing up there?”

Jay seemed to straighten out, looking like some kind of iconic Hollywood hero. He raised his shotgun over his head and yelled…

“Wolverines!”

Right there on camera, Henry literally fell down laughing.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:18 pm, 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 Badem » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:52 am

I don't now why but I see Chief Dane as looking like Woody harrelson...

Loving this PB, you really should get this stuff published :)

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by cowboyfromhel86 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:20 am

good shit but as most know its not done untill he said the end means theres gona be MOAR lol
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Badem » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:13 am

Here is how sad i am :(

I actually put Red River into Google to see myself how defensible it would be from the air :)

Suffice to say, plenty of trees around so no shortage of wood, but I could not find the Convention centre :(

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Laager » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:18 am

“Wolverines!” Wow what can I say..............fantastic story.
“Complacency kills. Paranoia is the reason I’m still alive.” If we do happen to make contact, I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of ya.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by GotMak » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:05 am

http://www.redriver.org/conference-about" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Check out this flyer - both Best Western and the Conference Cetner are listed: http://www.redriver.org/uploaded/file/map_town_map.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This makes me want to visit, and I don't even ski!

I also saw something called the "Tillman Project" - half-way considered calling and asking for Russ.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Braxton » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:11 pm

Image

8)
Image
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Actually I think under some circumstances people sometimes don't even know themselves, but that's a bit existential for this thread. :lol:

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by kaijafon » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:22 pm

"....Wherever you buy your balls, I’ve gotta shop there,..."


awesome! the whole story but that line is beyond awesome!

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Bearcat » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:47 pm

Braxton wrote:Image

8)
I think it's standard ZS procedure to find a high perch after a battle with a hoard of undead and raise your weapon and cry out wolverines? If it isn't, it should be.
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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Wrecking Ball » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:43 pm

Such a joy to read every post. :)
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-Finch, you are a funny man.

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Re: But with a Whimper

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:07 pm

It certainly took a while to remove the bodies stacked up against the shattered doors, and many had to be removed before the trucks could even be driven away, forcing the national guardsmen to go in through the side entrance while the citizens stared hollow-eyed at the fact that the dead were on the ground and not getting up again, and in the process of being removed by the very people that had been in their prayers as the dead had tried to claw their way to their throats.

The Guard had designated one squad to keep the people back and ordered until the bodies could be cleared and the trucks moved. They were then filed out through the side entrance. No one really wanted to walk out through the main entrance anyway. The bodies were gone but certain parts remained.

Henry, now rid of Angela Reed, though she was still walking around, interviewing various members of the Guard, stood by the side entrance, directing his people as to where to go. Major Royce had set up a check-in desk, where everyone could give their information and then be situated. But as they went past, a lot of people slowed to shake hands, or hug Henry and his officers. They were glad to be alive, understatements aside. Henry had also worked out an agreement with Royce. Those armed could keep their weapons but would have to be billeted in the hotel where their weapons could be secured. Those unarmed went mostly to the tents.

There were few dry eyes as the population of Red River, which had not dropped a single digit since Leland Plessy months earlier.

Russ Tillman stopped with his own hearty handshake. “Good job, Chief. Hell of a good job. We made it, huh? And that thing we did, driving and running around with those things right on our asses? Most excitement I’ve ever had with my clothes on.”

“Thanks for helping out, Russ. I mean everything, from the beginning. Thanks for having our backs.”

Just about everyone in town stopped or at least slowed to offer what thanks they could, and Henry couldn’t remember so many kisses and handshakes in a single day. Madeline’s eyes leaked right down her face as Jay finally came down from the roof, his symbolic, if humorous celebration of their survival, on live TV no less, over and passing already into town legend.

That night, which was already getting close as Angela Reed walked away from her disappointing interview with Henry, everyone finally bedded down. The hotel was filled quickly, mostly with Henry's volunteers and their families, as the Best Western only had thirty suites, but most allowed another family to bunk with them. Such was the hospitality that had not yet died in small town America. The rest had been set up in large tents set up by the military, which were hardly comfortable but were at least more so than a sleeping bag on the tile floor of the convention center. Not yet asleep as the night wore on was Mayor Denning, who finally was able to break away and have a private word with his chief of police by a section of fence, with national guardsmen with guard dogs patrolling the outside.

“Hell of a thing today, Henry. I guess we made it, huh?”

“I guess we did, Jim. You know, you did all right throughout this whole thing. You did all right. I guess you now know what it means…being mayor, don’t you?”

“Had I known that, I probably wouldn’t have gone into local politics. Should have just kept to myself and run my damned store.”

“You know, even though you’re running unopposed, I think the last couple of days just clinched your reelection.”

“Well, if you ran against me Henry, you’d probably crush me. If I got one vote, it’d be my own. So, I hope you’re not getting any ideas.”

“Nope, not for me. But look at all the media attention we’re getting. You could probably be governor because of all this.”

“That’s okay. I like it here better. So, where’s everyone else? Where are your guys?”

“Oh, I had us packed into one of the suites. That’s police headquarters for now, I guess. They’re dead asleep. Erika crashed out the moment she saw a decent bed. I guess tomorrow’s the morning after the party, when it’s time to clean up and check the damage.”

“Tomorrow can wait, Henry. Right now, I just want to collapse and hope that I dream about something other than this.”

“You do that, then. Good night, Jim.”

“Good night, Henry. And…thanks. Thanks for saving our town. You did good.”

“Thanks, Jim. So did you.”
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:59 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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