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Mechanical Failure, Chap. 4b (zombie apocalypse novel in progress)

August 29, 2013


Jeanette’s kitchen clock let me know that it was noon. My growling stomach had already told me as much, but it was good to know that I still had a feel for the time. I tried to light the stove, just to test it, but it didn’t seem to be working. There was no hiss of gas so that explained it. My gas water heater had quit working a while back, and so had my heater, telling me that the gas had finally stopped flowing. My stove was electric so that hadn’t been a problem at my house, but I was going to need another method of cooking here. I found a charcoal grill on the patio, and after a bit of quiet digging, I found a couple bags of charcoal and some lighter fluid. I’d have to use it sparingly, since I didn’t know how long I’d be staying, but it was enough to last me a while.

In the beginning, I’d worried about using the grill at my house, but it had soon become obvious that the zombies weren’t at all interested in cooking odors. They seemed focused on live human flesh, and they weren’t smart enough to make the mental leap between humans and human activity such as cooking. Even grilled meat didn’t seem to attract their attention.

I heated up a pan of chicken broth, and added some white rice and canned tuna. There was no way to refrigerate the leftovers so I ate it all, promising myself that dinner would be something small, if I even bothered with dinner. I just wanted to crawl into bed and rest for a while, so that my battered body could start to heal. First I had to fill a couple of empty chlorine jugs with water to take upstairs for flushing the toilet. I also dragged up some candles and a flashlight that I found in a drawer, though I had to put new batteries in first. As an afterthought, I brought up some things that I could eat without cooking, so I wouldn’t have to go downstairs again for a while. There were some crackers and chips as well as some canned foods that could be eaten cold, and I brought the can opener up with me as well. I couldn’t carry up the 5 gallon bottle of water, so I poured some of it into smaller containers and brought them up. Navigating the stairs on crutches wasn’t easy, but it would have been impossible to get between floors without them. The backpack allowed me to carry what I needed, though it made me feel off-balance and I thought I was going to fall backwards more than once. By the time the last load was carried up, my good leg was shaking, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t have made another trip if my life had depended on it.

I blocked off the top of the stairs with a heavy dresser, which was ridiculously difficult to move. It wouldn’t keep me safe forever, but it would slow the dead down if they made it that far. A few empty cans stacked on top of the dresser would act as an alarm system.

Locking myself into the master bedroom, I slid a dresser in front of that door as well. Jeanette had a full bookcase and I planned on making use of the books. I was set for a while, I thought, as I walked over to look out the bedroom window. There were a couple walking corpses near the house and several still gathered together at the intersection, but I wasn’t worried. If they hadn’t found me yet, I was probably safe here unless I did something stupid. I promised myself not to play any music, and I’d sleep when it was dark so that I wouldn’t need to light the candle unless I had to. The bedroom window was a thick, expensive one, meant to keep out the harsh Nevada sun, yet I could still hear the moans of the dead outside. Someday the noise might just push me over the edge, but not today. I was too tired to care. I grabbed a book and went to lay down on the bed, exhausted.

 ~to be continued~

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